2023 CCC Results: Albon and Kaspersen Win Over Deep Fields

Albon and Kaspersen run to victories with different strategies.

By on September 2, 2023 | Comments

There’s nothing quite like the UTMB Mont Blanc festival week, and the 2023 CCC is the final lead-up to the big dance. Racers, numbering 2,406 this year, took off from Courmayeur, Italy, on Friday, September 1 at 9:15 a.m. to cover 101 kilometers (63 miles) and approximately 6,100 meters (20,000 feet) of elevation gain.

The course, going in the opposite direction from the TDS, which runs earlier in the week, traces a sinuous path through the mountains, paying a visit to Champex-Lac, Switzerland, and finishing at the hub of the week’s festivities, Chamonix, France. Often used as a stepping stone for racers eyeing UTMB in the future, it’s always a competitive race on both the men’s and women’s side, and this year was no exception. Like the other races this week, the CCC was run on a slightly modified course, but the change didn’t affect its distance or vertical gain.

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

2023 CCC Men’s Race

Jonathan Albon (U.K.) ran away with the top honors at this year’s CCC by executing what appeared to be a measured and well-planned race strategy. Finishing second in the race in 2022, he had the knowledge of what he needed to do to win it. Lurking in the top 10 early in the race, Albon seemed content to bide his time. But when it was time to go, no one was able to stay with him.

Albon pulled away from the rest of the field not only by running faster, but by being incredibly efficient in the aid stations. He took on all of his nutrition and liquid while still standing, refusing to sit down and waste any time. Even in a race this long, each second counts. Over the top of the final climb at La Flégère, he was five minutes clear of his next competitor. Known for his descending, Albon never looked back and finished with a time of 10:14:25.

Jia-Sheng Shen (China) came closest to matching Albon’s pace to finish second, a significant improvement over his fourth-place finish in the race in 2022. Shen meant business from the get-go and took the race out fast. He led for much of the time until Albon’s unrelenting pace simply became too much. He finished just under 10 minutes back with a time of 10:22:30.

2023 CCC - Dakota Jones finshing third

Dakota Jones enjoys the finishing straight on his way to finishing third. All photos: UTMB

The American contingent rounded out the rest of the top six, with Dakota Jones taking the final podium spot with a time of 10:41:40. Jonathan Rea was close behind with a time of 10:43:51, and Drew Holmen came in just a few minutes back with a time of 10:47:49. Seth Ruhling came in at 10:55:14.

2023 CCC Men’s Results

  1. Jonathan Albon (U.K.) – 10:14:25
  2. Jia-Sheng Shen (China) – 10:22:30
  3. Dakota Jones (U.S.) – 10:41:40
  4. Jonathan Rea (U.S.) – 10:43:51
  5. Drew Holmen (U.S.) – 10:47:49
  6. Seth Ruhling (U.S.) – 10:55:14
  7. Peter Fraňo (Slovakia) – 10:59:52
  8. Luke Grenfell-Shaw (U.K.) – 11:00:41
  9. Baptiste Petitjean (France) – 11:08:47
  10. Rodrigo Monasor Romero (Spain) – 11:08:55

Full results.

2023 CCC - mens podium Jonathan Albon Jia-Sheng Shen Dakota Jones

The 2023 CCC men’s podium (l-to-r): 2. Jia-Sheng Shen, 1. Jonathan Albon, and 3. Dakota Jones.

2023 CCC Women’s Race

It was pure dominance from Yngvild Kaspersen (Norway) in the women’s race this year. Finishing 30th last year must have been a learning experience that she put to good use this time around. From early in the race, she held a solid gap on her closest competitors. At Champex-Lac, 53 kilometers into the race, she was already 20 minutes up, and the gap only continued to grow. She finished in 11:51:22, nearly 40 minutes up on the next woman.

2023 CCC - Yngvild Kaspersen winning

The 2023 CCC women’s champion, Yngvild Kaspersen, coming down the finishing chute.

Emily Hawgood (Zimbabwe, lives in the U.S.) is no stranger to the UTMB Mont Blanc festival events, and her second place here with a time of 12:28:19 showed that she’s only continuing to improve. She finished sixth last year at UTMB and 10th in 2021. She’s also one of the many people who are choosing to double up a UTMB festival event with the Western States 100 earlier in the year. She finished an impressive fifth in that jaunt through the California mountains, a much different environment from the CCC course, showing that she’s a versatile runner who can handle many conditions.

The race for the final spot on the podium came down to a battle between Helen Mino Faukner (U.S.) and Hau Ha Thi (Vietnam). With just the slightest of margins, the American was able to hold on to third with a time of 12:38:05. Thi finished just 23 seconds behind.

The North American contingent had a strong showing in the second half of the top 10. Emily Schmitz, Emmiliese Von Avis, and Tara Fraga, all of the U.S., landed in the top 10, as did Arden Young of Canada.

2023 CCC Women’s Results

  1. Yngvild Kaspersen (Norway) – 11:51:22
  2. Emily Hawgood (Zimbabwe) – 12:28:19
  3. Helen Mino Faukner (U.S.) – 12:38:05
  4. Hau Ha Thi (Vietnam) – 12:38:28
  5. Emily Schmitz (U.S.) – 12:42:24
  6. Audrey Tanguy (France) – 12:42:37
  7. Mari Klakegg Fenre (Norway) – 12:47:30
  8. Emmiliese Von Avis (U.S.) – 12:53:53
  9. Tara Fraga (U.S.) – 13:10:03
  10. Arden Young (Canada) – 13:11:15

Full results.

2023 CCC - womens top four Yngvild Kaspersen Emily Hawgood Helen Mino Faukner Hau Ha Thi

The 2023 CCC women’s top four (l-to-r): 2. Emily Hawgood, 1. Yngvild Kaspersen, 3. Helen Mino Faukner, and 4. Hau Ha Thi.

Eszter Horanyi

Eszter Horanyi identifies as a Runner Under Duress, in that she’ll run if it gets her deep into the mountains or canyons faster than walking would, but she’ll most likely complain about it. A retired long-distance bike racer, she gave ultra foot racing a go and finished the Ouray 100 in 2017, but ultimately decided that she prefers a slower pace of life of taking photos during long days in the mountains and smelling the flowers while being outside for as many hours of the day as possible. Eszter will take any opportunity to go adventuring in the mountains or desert by foot, bike, or boat, and has lived the digital nomad lifestyle throughout the west for the past seven years.