Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc
The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (also referred to as UTMB) is a single stage mountain ultramarathon. It takes place once a year in the Alps, across France, Italy and Switzerland. The distance is approximately 166 km, with a total elevation gain of around 9,400 m. It is widely regarded as the most difficult foot race in Europe.
While the best runners complete the loop in slightly more than 20 hours, most runners take 30 to 45 hours to reach the finish line. There is no prize money awarded.
Today, the races consist of the following;
- UTMB: Ultra-Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc (166 km +9,400 m)
- CCC: Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix (98 km +5,600 m)
- TDS: Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (105 km +6,700 m)
- PTL: La Petite Trotte à Léon (250 km +18,000 m)
- The race is organised by an association called Les Trailers du Mont-Blanc.
- 1700 volunteers were involved in 2010.
- The North Face is the main sponsor.
- Runners are supposed to carry a minimum of equipment for safety reasons. This includes a waterproof jacket, warm clothes, food and water, whistle, survival blanket and head lamp.
- There are food and drink points along the route, every 10 to 15km. In addition, four big "life bases" provide hot meals, beds and massages: Chamonix (France), Les Chapieux (France), Courmayeur (Italy) and Champex (Switzerland).
- At Courmayeur and Champex, runners can collect a bag they previously left at Chamonix.
- Runners' race numbers contain a magnetic badge that is read at approximately 50 check points. Timings and rankings are available online and by Short message service in real-time.
- The organizers encourage solidarity between runners and respect for the environment.
It starts from Chamonix (1,035 m) and goes up to the Col de Voza (1,653 m) to reach Les Contamines (1,150 m). It then climbs to the Croix du Bonhomme (2,479 m) before going down back to Les Chapieux (1,549 m), which is the first life base. The path then runs up to the Col de la Seigne (2,516 m) to enter Italy, follows the ridge of the Mont-Favre (2,435 m) before going down to Courmayeur (1,190 m), the second life base. It climbs again to the Refuge Bertone (1,989 m) and Arnuva (1,769 m) before reaching its highest point, the Grand Col Ferret (2537 m), which also marks the border with Switzerland. The path goes down again to Praz de Fort (1,151 m) via La Fouly (1,593 m) before reaching the third life base, Champex d'en Bas (1,391m). The last part includes two rather low cols: Bovine (1,987 m) and Les Tseppes (1932 m) separated by Trient (1,300 m). On the descent to Vallorcine (1,260 m), the path enters back France, crosses Argentière (1,260 m) before terminating at Chamonix, its starting point.
Slight variations are applied to the route every year sometimes for safety reasons. In 2010, the route was 166 km long for a total elevation gain of 9500m.
A more detailed profile can be found on the official web site: UTMB profile.
Participation and results
- The race was first held in 2003.
- In 2006, a woman won the first edition of the Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix
- The race popularity and its entry rate has grown significantly since its first concept demonstrated by the following history;
In 2003 and 2004, respectively 700 and 1,400 runners entered the race. In 2005, the 2000 runners limit was reached for the first time after 7 months of registration opening. In 2006, the organisers decided to create the CCC in order to allow more runners into the event. The registrations were sold out in only 2 weeks. In 2007, it was decided that the runners must qualify, by running qualifying races beforehand gaining points. That year the 2,000 runners limit was reached in less than 10 hours of opening. For the 2008 event, 2,000 runners registered in only 7 minutes, 5 months before the race. For the 2009 event, the qualifying criteria were tightened to limit runners and a draw was also introduced to make entry fairer, giving equal chance to everyone, and make registration more orderly. Despite the stricter criteria this year 45% of qualifying entrants were still denied a place, and therefore organisers raised entry standards still further for the 2010 event to make the entry-selection further based on capability and experience rather than luck of the draw.
Ultra-Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc
|2003||722||67||Dachhiri Dawa Sherpa||20h05||2003 full results|
|2004||1383||420||Vincent Delebarre||21h06||2004 full results|
|2005||2000||774||Christophe Jaquerod||21h11||2005 full results|
|2006||2535||1151||Marco Olmo||21h06||2006 full results|
|2007||2319||1437||Marco Olmo||21h31||2007 full results|
|2008||2500||1269||Kilian Jornet||20h58||2008 full results|
|2009||2500||1382||Kilian Jornet||21h33||2009 full results|
|2010*||2400*||1130||Jez Bragg*||10h30||2010 reprise full results|
|2011||1133||Kilian Jornet||20h36||2011 full results|
|2012*||2122||François D'Haene*||10h32*||2012 full results|
- The races in 2010 and 2012 were shorter due to bad weather conditions.
|2006||1054||854||Corinne Favre||10h35||2006 full results|
|2007||1609||1332||Julien Chorier||10h19||2007 full results|
|2008||1318||Guillaume Le Normand||12h26|
More pictures about the Ultra-Trail Tour du Mont-Blanc:
- Sunset viewed from the Col de Voza, beginning of the UTMB 2005
- Group of volunteers at Champex on the UTMB 2005