We’ve had a few questions over the last few days about the different kinds of races on offer at UTMB, so we’d thought we’d give a bit of a ‘dummies guide’ so to speak for those not particularly ‘au fait’ with the low-down taking place over in France right now. Everyone knows there’s a 100 miler taking place tomorrow, but what of the other races? We’re sure that many of our European readers will know the score, but what about those outside of France and across the world? If you’ve ever wondered what races are on offer, here’s a brief low-down:
La petite trotte a Leon (PTL)
The route is different from one year to the next; it is not way-marked but it is mapped (GPS tracks and maps supplied). It’s 300 kilometres in length, with about 24 000 metres of positive height gain.
Competitors have a time limit of 136 hours, and compete in teams of 2 or 3 persons of whom at least one must have finished, in the past, the UTMB® or the TOR DES GEANTS, one of the previous PTL™ or even the 2012 TDS™.
Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS)
This race is 119kms in length, has 7,250m elevation gain and 33hrs to complete it in. This is a race in open country along the ‘Grande Randonnée’ paths crossing though the Mont-Blanc, Beaufort, Tarentaise and Aosta valley countryside. The race includes numerous sections at altitude (>2,500m), and passes through the two Savoie and the Aosta valleys, some of the provinces that once made up the Savoie State.
Courmayeuer Champex Chamonix (CCC)
At around 101kms in length and with 6,100m of positive elevation, the CCC has become known in previous years as the little sister to the main show. The first kilometres, on an original route, different from the UTMB®, quickly lead to 2500m of altitude to one of the most exceptional panoramas, facing the Mont-Blanc and the Grandes Jorasses. The passage of the Grand col Ferret (2537m) marks the entrance of the race in Switzerland, where the competitors will be warmly welcomed by the volunteers of La Fouly, Champex and Trient.
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB)
The grand daddy of the four races and the one the big guns all turn up to – rocking a cool 100 miles and around 9,000m of ascent. What’s different about this race is that it starts at 4:30pm in the afternoon, meaning that everyone will have to run through at least one night. All up, 2,300 people enter this race, rubbing shoulders with Aiguille de Bionnassay and crossing Col du Bonhomme by moonlight. At sunrise, runners will cross Col de la Seigne into Italy and the magical Val Veni overlooked by Noire du Peuterey and the glaciers descending Mont Blanc. Later they will reach the Val Ferret, guarded by Dent du Géant and Grandes Jorasses before finally turning into Switzerland to relish the beautifully protected countryside.
They say a picture tells a thousand words, in this instance we came across a very nice collection of UTMB pictures here, which we hope whets the appetite even more. If you want even more, then check out some videos here too.
Good luck to all runners this weekend and those competing across all four races. Be safe and enjoy the beauty of it all.
(All pictures © The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® – Franck Oddoux)