Elhousine Elazzaoui of Morocco clinched a stunning victory in the Marathon du Mont-Blanc, defeating last year’s champion, Rémi Bonnet, in a captivating race. Elazzaoui, who won last year’s Grand Final, led the Golden Trail World Series (GTWS) standings going into the fourth race of the season. Meanwhile, Swiss athlete Bonnet was making his first GTWS appearance of 2024, returning to the race he dominated a year ago.

The two runners provided an exhilarating spectacle for the massive crowd, breaking away from their competitors by the halfway mark. The lead swapped multiple times, but Elazzaoui’s decisive move on the final descent into Chamonix set a new course record with a time of 3:30:10, finishing 46 seconds ahead of Bonnet.

Swiss runner Roberto Delorenzi, the newly crowned ‘Up & Down’ European trail champion, secured third place, just over two minutes behind the winner.

Race Highlights

The race started intensely, with Bonnet leading the pack closely followed by Delorenzi at the 6.4km mark in Le Levancher. Elazzaoui, initially in eighth place, was only a few seconds behind as the leaders remained tightly grouped.

The dynamics shifted during the climb up Aiguillette des Posettes. Bonnet and Delorenzi maintained their lead, but the chasing group, including Elazzaoui, was reduced to five runners.

Elhousine Elazzaoui, champion of the 2024 Marathon du Mont Blanc.Photo:©: Golden Trail Series | Marathon du Mont Blanc | Mathis de Croux

Bonnet pushed ahead towards the summit at the 18km point, hinting at a repeat of his dominant performance from last year. However, Elazzaoui had different plans. By the summit, he had closed the gap and used his downhill expertise to launch multiple attacks. He also challenged Bonnet on the climbs, preventing him from settling into a rhythm.

The race remained neck-and-neck, but the downhill finish played to Elazzaoui’s strengths, leading to his first Mont-Blanc Marathon win.

Bonnet’s Prediction Comes True

A pre-race interview with Bonnet, featured on these pages, proved insightful. Bonnet identified Elazzaoui as his main competitor, stating, “I think he has gained confidence; he has seen that he can win races, and it suits him. Before, he would wait for others and wasn’t bold enough to go off on his own. Now, he understands he can win, and that changes everything for him.”

After his victory, Elazzaoui reflected, “This win means a lot to me; I’ve wanted to win the Marathon du Mont-Blanc for a long time. It boosts my confidence for the upcoming races. Rémi was really strong today, but I stayed calm and made my move at the 36-kilometer mark to secure the win.”

Bonnet, gracious in defeat, said, “I’m pleased with my performance in my first marathon of the season. The times we set today were faster than last year, showing the rising competition level. This second place is more significant than my victory last year. Congratulations to Elhousine; he was really strong today.”