2022 OCC Results: Avilés and Merillas Lead Spanish Sweep

Results of the 2022 OCC race.

By on August 25, 2022 | Comments

The 2022 OCC race started on Thursday, August 25 in Orsières, Switzerland, ran through Champex-Lac, Switzerland, and finished in Chamonix, France. It’s this Orsières, Champex-Lac, Chamonix point-to-point route that gives the race its abbreviated name. The OCC is 55 kilometers (34.2 miles), but with 3,500 meters (11,480 feet) of elevation gain and a field numbering 1,200 runners.

Neither defending champion — Blandine L’Hirondel (France) nor Jonathan Albon (U.K.) — were back for this year’s race. Both instead will contest the longer CCC race. Both also set course records last year in 5:45 and 5:02.

You can also check out more results from the week’s UTMB Mont-Blanc festival:

2022 OCC Women’s Race

Sheila Avilés (Spain) overtook longtime leader Allie McLaughlin (USA) late and ran to a 6:10 winning time. It was surely a fulfilling win after an injury cycle. The win also avenged a drop at this race in 2019. Avilés dropped from June’s Marathon du Mont Blanc and earlier was seventh over 60k at the Madeira Island Ultra-Trail.

McLaughlin fell clear to sixth, and Núria Gil (Spain) edged Dani Moreno (USA) for second. The pair ran 6:16 and 6:17, and were only 62 seconds apart.

Sheila Avilés - 2022 OCC women's champion

Sheila Avilés, the 2022 OCC women’s champion. Photo: UTMB

The rest of the top 10 included:

4 – Kimber Mattox (USA) – 6:22
5 – Toni McCann (South Africa) – 6:24
6 – Allie McLaughlin (USA) – 6:28
7 – Esther Eustache (France) – 6:33
8 – Eleanor Davis (U.K.) – 6:34
9 – Mireia Pons (Spain) – 6:35
10 – Lina El Kott (Sweden) – 6:43

The U.S. placed three women inside the top 10.

Full results.

2022 OCC Men’s Race

Manuel Merillas (Spain) won a dynamic men’s race. Merillas led late, was overtaken by Antonio Martínez (Spain) near 50k on a steep climb, and then fought back to win in 5:18. Merillas gained his ultimate lead on the last downhill. Martínez followed in second at 5:21.

Merillas was 23rd at Sierre-Zinal two weeks ago, but more impressively was second a week before that at the Stranda Fjord Trail Race as part of the Golden Trail World Series. He was third at this year’s Zegama Marathon too.

Manuel Merillas - 2022 OCC men's champion

Manuel Merillas takes the win at the 2022 OCC. Photo: UTMB

The 31-year-old Martínez is new to this level of racing and laid at the finish in a mix of exhaustion and emotion. He was 13th at this year’s Zegama Marathon and won the 2021 Cortina Trail race as the undercard to Lavaredo Ultra Trail.

Robbie Simpson (U.K.), last year’s runner up, was third in 5:24.

The rest of the top 10 included:

4 – Arnaud Bonin (France) – 5:29
5 – Paul Mathou (France) – 5:31
6 – Nicolas Martin (France) – 5:34
7 – Antoine Thiriat (France) – 5:36
8 – Martin Dematteis (Italy) – 5:42
9 – Leonard Mitrica (Romania) – 5:42
10 – Andreas Rieder (Austria) – 5:49

The top three American men were:

12 – Justin Grunewald -5:56
24 – Jeshurun Small – 6:07
33 – Christopher Jones – 6:18

Full results.

Justin Mock

Justin Mock is the This Week In Running columnist for iRunFar. He’s been writing about running for 10 years. Based in Europe, Justin has run as fast as 2:29 for a road marathon and finished as high as fourth in the Pikes Peak Marathon.