Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

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UTMB 2015.jpg

The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (also referred to as UTMB) is a single-stage mountain ultramarathon. It takes place once a year on either the last weekend in August or the first weekend of September in the Alps, and follows the route of the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Italy and Switzerland. It has a distance of approximately 166 kilometres (103 mi), and a total elevation gain of around 9,600 m. It is widely regarded as one of the most difficult foot races in the world, and one of the largest with more than 2,000 starters. It is one race during a week-long festival based around Chamonix in France. The combined participation in all of the events over the week is approaching 10,000 runners. The races have strict entry requirements which include accumulating enough race points through qualifier races in the previous two years.

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.

Since 2006, a second race Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix (half-loop) has also been organised, and a third race was added in 2009: "Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie". A fourth shorter "running" event - Orsières - Champex - Chamonix - was added in 2014.

La Petite Trotte à Léon is a non-competitive team event started in 2011. Each team is made of two or three members for safety. The route and direction of the course change every year. In 2015 it was run counter clock-wise.

Today, the races consist of the following;

  • UTMB: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (166 km +9,600 m)
  • CCC: Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix (101 km +6,100 m)
  • TDS: Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (119 km +7,250 m)
  • OCC: Orsières - Champex - Chamonix (53 km +3,300 m)
  • PTL: La Petite Trotte à Léon (approx. 300 km +28,000 m)

Route[edit]

The route basically follows the Tour du Mont Blanc hiking path, that is usually completed in 7 to 9 days by hikers. This is a loop around Mont Blanc.

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 back down 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, and 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 re-enters France and crosses Argentière (1,260 m) before finishing at Chamonix, its starting point.

The route varies slightly every year, sometimes for safety reasons. In 2010, the route was 166 km long with a total elevation gain of 9500m.

Race profile

A more detailed profile can be found on the official web site: UTMB profile.

Participation and results[edit]

Vincent Delebarre at Champex during the UTMB 2005
  • The race was first held in 2003.
  • The race's popularity and its entry rate have grown significantly. Although the market has seen a decline in recent years.

The number of entrants doubled from 700 in 2003 to 1,400 in 2004. In 2005, the limit of 5,000 runners was reached 7 months after registration opened. In 2006, the organisers decided to create the CCC in order to allow more runners to take part. The registrations were sold out in only 2 weeks. In 2007, it was decided that runners must qualify, by running qualifying races beforehand gaining points. That year the limit of 5,000 runners was reached less than 24 hours after registration opened. For the 2008 event, 6,000 runners registered in only 8 minutes, 5 months before the race. For the 2009 event, the qualifying criteria were tightened to limit the number of qualifying runners, and a draw was introduced to make entry fairer, giving an equal chance to all qualifiers, and making registration more orderly. Despite the stricter criteria, 10% of qualifying entrants were still denied a place, so the organisers raised entry standards still further for the 2010 event so that selection would be based more on capability and experience than luck of the draw.

Ultra-Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc[edit]

Year Distance Runners Finishers Winner Male Time Winner Female Time Notes
2003 153 km 722 67 Dachhiri Dawa Sherpa Nepal 20:05:59 Kristin Moehl United States 29:38:24 2003 full results
2004 155 km 1383 420 Vincent Delebarre France 21:06:18 Colette Borcard Switzerland 26:08:54 2004 full results
2005 155 km 2000 774 Christophe Jaquerod Switzerland 21:11:07 Elizabeth Hawker United Kingdom 26:53:51 2005 full results
2006 158 km 2535 1151 Marco Olmo Italy 21:06:06 Karine Herry France 25:22:20 2006 full results
2007 163 km 2319 1437 Marco Olmo Italy 21:31:58 Nikki Kimball United States 25:23:45 2007 full results
2008 166 km 2500 1269 Kilian Jornet Spain 20:56:59 Elizabeth Hawker United Kingdom 25:19:41 2008 full results
2009 166 km 2500 1382 Kilian Jornet Spain 21:33:18 Kristin Moehl United States 24:56:01 2009 full results
2010* 88 km 2400 1130 Jez Bragg United Kingdom 10:30:37* Elizabeth Hawker United Kingdom 11:47:30* 2010 full results
2011 170 km 2361 1133 Kilian Jornet Spain 20:36:43 Elizabeth Hawker United Kingdom 25:02:00 2011 full results
2012* 103 km 2483 2122 François D'Haene France 10:32:36* Elizabeth Hawker United Kingdom 12:32:13* 2012 full results
2013 168 km 2469 1685 Xavier Thevenard France 20:34:57 Rory Bosio United States 22:37:26 2013 full results
2014 167 km 2434 1578 François D'Haene France 20:11:44 Rory Bosio United States 23:23:20 2014 full results
2015 170 km 2561 1632 Xavier Thevenard France 21:09:15 Nathalie Mauclair France 25:15:33 2015 full results
2016 170 km 2555 1468 Ludovic Pommeret France 22:00:02 Caroline Chaverot France 25:15:40 2016 full results
2017* 167 km 2537 1686 François D'Haene France 19:01:54 Núria PICAS Spain 25:46:43
  • The races in 2010, 2012, and 2017 were shorter due to bad weather conditions (though only about 5km shorter in 2017).

Ultra-Trail Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix[edit]

Year Distance Runners Finishers Winner Male Time Winner Female Time Notes
2006 86 km 1054 854 Alun Powell United Kingdom 10:53:17 Corinne Favre France 10:35:55 2006 full results
2007 86 km 1609 1332 Julien Chorier France 10:19:46 Andréa Zimmermann Switzerland 12:28:05 2007 full results
2008 98 km 2032 1318 Guillaume Le Normand France 12:26:04 Lucy Colquhoun United Kingdom 14:33:37 2008 full results
2009 98 km 1865 1266 Jean-Yves Rey Switzerland 11:40:47 Chantal Begue France 16:51:00 2009 full results
2010 98 km 2004 1677 Xavier Thevenard France 11:57:13 Maud Giraud France 14:07:38 2010 full results
2011 98 km 1907 1591 Emmanuel Gault France 10:10:25 Virginie Govignon France 12:47:11 2011 full results
2012* 86 km 1913 1585 Tofol Castañer Bernat Spain 08:57:04* Ellie Greenwood United Kingdom 11:17:24* 2012 full results
2013 101 km 1910 1320 Jordi Bes Spain 11:23:01 Caroline Chaverot France 14:12:00 2013 full results
2014 101 km 1945 1423 Paul Bartolo Spain 11:21:16 Anne Lise Rousett France 14:28:48 2014 full results
2015 101 km 2127 1470 Zach Miller United States 11:53:32 Ruth Croft New Zealand 12:54:53 2015 full results
2016 101 km 2123 1386 Michel Lanne France 12:10:04 Mimmi Kotka Sweden 13:42:46 2016 full results
2017 99 km 2155 1742 Hayden Hawks United States 10:24:30 Clare Gallagher United States 12:13:57

Ultra-Trail Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie[edit]

Year Distance Runners Finishers Winner Male Time Winner Female Time Notes
2009 105 km 632 480 Patrick Bohard France 14:01:48 Fernanda Maciel Brazil 17:17:43 2009 full results
2010 105 km Cancelled
2011 110 km 1180 781 Franck Bussiere France 15:51:37 Jolanda Linschooten Netherlands 20:57:32 2011 full results
2012 114 km 1464 633 Dawa Sherpa Nepal 14:37:07 Agnès Herve France 19:07:00 2012 full results
2013 119 km 1528 1022 Arnaud Julia Bonatti Spain 15:09:59 Nathalie Mauclair France 17:36:41 2013 full results
2014 119 km 1588 1076 Xavier Thevenard France 14:10:37 Teresa Nimes Perez Spain 18:41:12 2014 full results
2015 119 km 1807 1214 Pau Bartolo Spain 14:26:40 Andrea Huser Switzerland 16:35:29 2015 full results
2016 119 km 1794 1060 Pau Capell Spain 14:45:44 Delphine Avenier France 18:46:24 2016 full results
2017 119 km 1818 1251 Michel Lanne France 14:33:09 Mimmi Kotka Sweden 15:47:07 2017 full results

Orsières-Champex-Chamonix[edit]

Year Distance Runners Finishers Winner Male Time Winner Female Time Notes
2014 53 km 1200 1109 Nicolas Martin France 5:07:45 Sonia Glarey Italy 6:37:40 2014 full results
2015 53 km 1442 1317 Marc Pinsach Rubirola Spain 5:21:38 Celia Chiron France 6:41:53 2015 full results
2016 55 km 1413 1232 Xavier Thevenard France 5:28:37 Mercedes Arcos Zafras Spain 6:54:13 2016 full results
2017 55 km 1565 1468 Marc Lauenstein Switzerland 5:19:34 Eli Gordon Rodriguez Spain 6:12:16 2017 full results

Results by nation[edit]

UTMB[edit]

UTMB Males
# Nation 1st 2nd 3rd Podium
1 France France 7 2 4 13
2 Spain Spain 3 6 6 15
3 Italy Italy 2 0 1 3
4 Nepal Nepal 1 2 0 3
5 United Kingdom United Kingdom 1 0 0 1
6 United States USA 0 3 4 7
7 Hungary Hungary 0 1 0 1
7 Germany Germany 0 1 0 1
7 Sweden Sweden 0 1 0 1
7 Lithuania Lithuania 0 1 0 1
8 Japan Japan 0 0 1 1
8 Switzerland Switzerland 0 0 1 1
UTMB Females
# Nation 1st 2nd 3rd Podium
1 United Kingdom United Kingdom 5 1 0 6
2 United States USA 5 0 1 6
3 France France 3 2 8 13
4 Spain Spain 1 6 4 11
5 Switzerland Switzerland 1 2 1 4
6 Luxembourg Luxembourg 0 2 1 3
7 Czech Republic Czech 0 1 0 1
7 Italy Italy 0 1 0 1

CCC[edit]

CCC Males
# Nation 1st 2nd 3rd Podium
1 France France 5 7 6 18
2 Spain Spain 3 0 1 4
3 United States USA 2 1 0 3
4 United Kingdom United Kingdom 1 0 1 2
5 Switzerland Switzerland 1 0 0 1
6 Greece Greece 0 1 2 3
7 Poland Poland 0 1 0 1
7 Canada Canada 0 1 0 1
7 Japan Japan 0 1 0 1
8 Italy Italy 0 0 2 2
CCC Females
# Nation 1st 2nd 3rd Podiums
1 France France 6 4 5 15
2 United Kingdom United Kingdom 2 3 1 6
3 United States USA 1 1 1 3
4 New Zealand New Zealand 1 0 0 1
4 Switzerland Switzerland 1 0 0 1
4 Sweden Sweden 1 0 0 1
5 Spain Spain 0 3 4 7
6 Italy Italy 0 1 1 2
Runners by night during the UTMB 2005

Logistics[edit]

A check point on the UTMB 2005
  • 15000 volunteers were involved in 2015.
  • Northface Ltd is the main sponsor since 2006 till 2014. Columbia is the main sponsor since 2015.
  • Kuala4k is the secondary environmental sponsor since 2014
  • 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 15 km. In addition, four big "life bases" provide hot meals, beds and massages: Chamonix (France), Les Chapieux (France), Courmayeur (Italy) and Champex (Switzerland).
  • At Courmayeur for UTMB and at Cormet de Roseland for TDS, runners can collect a drop bag they previously left at Chamonix or at Courmayeur.
  • Runners' race numbers contain a magnetic badge that is read at approximately 50 check points. Timings and rankings are available online and by text message in real-time.
  • It is conducted under the regulations of the International Trail Running Association (ITRA), the governing body for trail races in the Mont Blanc and Alpine region.
  • PTL is a mostly self-supported run without course markings or aid stations. Runners rely on a limited number of support points, mountain huts, local stores and restaurants for food and sleep. The course should be followed by GPS, maps, and the road book. It goes as high as 3300 meters (11,000 feet) and must be completed in about 6 days. Each team of two or three people carries a satellite beacon for safety. The course is modified every year and there are no official winners.

See also[edit]

More pictures about the Ultra-Trail Tour du Mont-Blanc:

External links[edit]