HOKA ONE ONE Athletes Win Grueling Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
GOLETA, Calif. (September 1, 2016) — Two HOKA ONE ONE®, a division of Deckers Brands (NYSE: DECK), athletes won this weekend’s 105-mile Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race. Caroline Chaverot and Ludovic Pommeret, both of France, each overcame incredible odds to win individual titles at an endurance event widely regarded as one of the toughest running races in the world.
“The UTMB is to trail running what the Tour de France is to cycling, so having a HOKA ONE ONE as first male and first female is just incredible—a dream come true,” said Jean-Luc Diard, HOKA ONE ONE co-founder and VP of Innovation. “We are equally proud to see so many runners attending the race using our running shoes as they make their own dreams come true.”
Ludovic Pommeret, who won in a time of 22 hours and 2 minutes, was the first elite athlete to wear HOKA ONE ONE running shoes in major ultra races. From 2009 on, he travelled around the world with HOKA co-founder Nicolas Mermoud to test and win races in HOKAs.
Pommeret started the race at the front of the pack, but nearly dropped out at the 18-mile mark due to stomach issues. Instead, he told his wife he would finish—even if it took him 40 hours. He’d fallen to 50th place. Re-committed, Pommeret displayed unprecedented perseverance and grit to slowly reel the racers ahead of him in. By Champex-Lac, about 77 miles into the race, he had moved up considerably and into the top 10. At the finish line, he’d built a commanding 26-minute lead ahead of second place.
This monumental comeback secured the first podium finish at UTMB for HOKA ONE.
“To finish this race for the first HOKA victory with Caroline—and so close to where the shoes were born—it is special,” said Pommeret. “It was such a long race, there are so many things that could happen but it is important to keep a good speed and strong mentality.”
Caroline Chaverot lead the women’s race from the start, fighting off stomach pain and leg cramps to stay ahead of a persistent second-place finisher Andrea Huser. She finished in 25 hours, 15 minutes and 40 seconds. Chaverot redeemed a DNF from last year, when she succumbed to stomach and leg issues at the 65-mile mark.
“It’s a dream, I am still not realizing [it], but it was so great to arrive in Chamonix with all the crowd,” said Chaverot. “The race was really tough, it was a fight. I was so happy to finish and to win. It was just amazing.”
Magdalena Boulet, HOKA ONE ONE athlete, was the first American woman to finish, taking fifth overall in her first UTMB attempt. She finished in 28 hours, 18 minutes and 5 seconds — an incredible outcome as the European competition is considerably more experienced with the difficult course.
Julian Chorier, another HOKA France athlete, placed eighth overall after pushing hard to stay in second and lead the pace for most of the race.
The 105-mile (170-kilometer) race around Mont Blanc is the headline of UTMB, which includes five races and 7,500 participants. UTMB racers rack up more than 32,000 feet of climbing as they traverse through France, Switzerland and Italy. This year’s conditions included considerable heat and thunderstorms.
“A dream comes true. Almost seven years after the original HOKA Mafate made its official debut as a prototype at the 2009 Ultra Trail of Mont-Blanc, HOKA ONE ONE conquers the 2016 edition with both the men and women overall titles,” said Nicolas Mermoud, HOKA ONE ONE co-founder. “Congrats and thanks a million times Caroline Chaverot, Ludo Pommeret and all HOKA athletes for an amazing performance.”
At UTMB, Pommeret wore the HOKA ONE ONE Mafate Speed 2 trail shoes; Chaverot raced in the HOKA ONE ONE Speed Instinct; Boulet donned the Mafate Speed 2 and Challenger ATR 2 shoes; and Chorier race in the Mafate Speed 2.
“It is ‘Time to Fly’ for HOKA athletes and we are so proud of the accomplishments at UTMB,” said Wendy Yang, HOKA ONE ONE president. “Today we celebrate the origins and continued success of HOKA on epic trails. The most exciting summer of racing for HOKA athletes to date, from the trails to the track, continues alongside our brand’s incredible momentum.”
About the HOKA ONE ONE® brand
HOKA ONE ONE® is the fastest growing premium running shoe brand in the world. Two life-long runners launched HOKA in 2009, after years spent handcrafting and shaping lightweight shoes with extra-thick midsoles. Initially embraced by ultrarunners because of their enhanced cushioning and inherent stability, HOKA now offers shoes for all types of athletes who enjoy the unique ride the shoes provide. For more information visit www.hokaoneone.com or follow @hokaoneone #hokaoneone.
About Deckers Brands
Deckers Brands is a global leader in designing, marketing and distributing innovative footwear, apparel and accessories developed for both everyday casual lifestyle use and high performance activities. The Company’s portfolio of brands includes UGG®, Teva®, Sanuk®, Ahnu®, and HOKA ONE ONE®. Deckers Brands products are sold in more than 50 countries and territories through select department and specialty stores, 142 Company-owned and operated retail stores, and select online stores, including Company-owned websites. Deckers Brands has a 40-year history of building niche footwear brands into lifestyle market leaders attracting millions of loyal consumers globally. For more information, please visit www.deckers.com.