I for one love the later start for a few reasons. First of all the storm is going to bring in some very cool weather. We might be running in some rain/snow in the first third of the race, but by sunrise it's supposed to be mostly cleared up and significantly cooler than it's been. Cool weather = better stomach performance which more often than not = better overall performance. I also like that we will get to see a lot more of the route in daylight. Instead of running in darkness for 10+ hours we will do it for about 6 or 7. I love running in the dark, but these mountains here are so amazingly dramatic I want to see as much of them as possible. And the third reason I like the later race start is just that it's something different. In the United States there is such a format to most of our ultras. They're almost all one of 4 exact distances and they almost all start between 5:00 and 8:00am. I love that this is simply a run around a mountain (it happens to be right around 100 miles, but only by chance, not by design) and that we are starting at 11:30 at night. It just gives the whole thing even more of a unique and exciting feel.
And beyond all of this there is nothing like having 2,500 runners primed and ready to do a run that they've been preparing for for most of the year and then telling them they need to wait even 5 more hours. You can just feel the tension in the air here now. It's easy to react negatively to news like this, and part of me is frustrated with the situation, but the decision has been made and now it's time to just wait a little longer and try to get some more rest. As soon as we line up, take the start, and run out of Chamonix the whole 5 hour delay is going to mean nothing in comparison to the adventure that lies ahead. Personally I have a feeling that this is going to be one of the most satisfying runs of my life so I don't really care so much when we start... just as long as we get to actually finish this time around.