Patrick Kingston in the Nivolet-Revard 55km

Patrick Kingston’s climbing skills were sure to be tested to the max in the Nivolet-Revard 55km

Staged in the French Alps and with 2,860 metres of ascent, the challenge presented by the Nivolet-Revard 55km race wasn’t to be taken lightly. The climbs were massive and required a high level of fitness and a lot of strength to overcome.

Building up his experience of tackling big climbs, Patrick Kingston had put in several long training runs over the back end of last year and the beginning of this year. That included a 27.28 mile one with over 8,000ft of elevation and then another 24 mile effort the week after with 11,000ft of ascent. From that, he knew he had a the capacity to tackle the big climbs and he continued his hill work along the South West Coast Path most weekends leading up to the Nivolet-Revard.

Whilst those were tough climbs though, it wasn’t quite the same as scaling the daunting peaks of the French Alps. Throughout the route, Patrick had to make to the summit of several massive mountains including the Col de al Doriaz at 1,143m, the Croix du Nivolet at 1,547m, Mont Kamuniak at 1,558m and Mont Revard at 1,538m.

Having already tackled the first big climb, Patrick reached the first checkpoint at Pragondran in 1 hour 22 minutes and at that stage he was in 178th position. That was 6.5 miles in.

Patrick Kingston in action in the Nivolet-Revard 55km

Like a proper fell runner, Patrick had his poles with him to help him on the climbs and the descents

At the next checkpoint, he was already half way up the biggest climb on the route. That was at the Col de la Doria and he’d now dropped down to 252nd place. Of course, a lot of the runners he was up against were experienced fell runners, many of whom live in the area and train on that terrain all the time. That was 13.6 miles in and Patrick had been going for 3 hours 12 minutes.

The next checkpoint was La Féclaz and that was 18 miles in. Patrick arrived there in 4 hours 30 minutes and was now down in 277th place. That was out of almost 600 runners though so he was still in the top half of the field.

Views from the high mountains of the Nivolet-Revard 55km race

The views from the high mountains were breathtaking

There was still plenty of climbing to be done but the long, super steep ascents were behind him. From about 22 miles in it was mostly downhill, with some very long descents included. This was where the poles Patrick had with him came in handy.

At the bottom of the longest descent he reached Les Mentens which was about 27 miles in. having been running for just under 6 and a half hours, Patrick had now started to work his way up the field and was in 261st place.

More views from the Nivolet-Revard 55km

The French Alps provided a spectacular backdrop

Finishing strongly, he gained a further 10 places before reaching the finish line in exactly 7 hours 58 minutes. That put Patrick in 251st place, which was a fantastic result given the level and experience of the opposition.

Over 30 runners were forced to abandon the race which demonstrates how tough it was just to even complete the course.

Patrick Kingston tackling the Nivolet-Revard 55km

Patrick completed the 55km route in 7 hours 58 minutes

The winner of the race was Théo Detienne of Team Saloman and he got round in 4 hours 54 minutes. He was one of only two runners who got in in under 5 hours. Ludivine Wissocque Aucouturier was first female and she completed the course in 6:36:53 which put her in 76th place overall.

Covering 34.36 miles, Patrick had wracked up an elevation gain of 9,700ft over the course of his run and his average pace came out at 13:54 per mile. To conquer a route like that in under 8 hours was a very impressive feat and it will no doubt be one that Patrick looks back on with immense pride.

The Nivolet Cross at the top of the Croix du Nivolet

The iconic landmark of the Nivolet Cross was at the summit of the Croix du Nivolet