When you’re born in the Swiss Alps, trails are in your DNA. That’s why Chamonix – home to the UTMB – has always felt like a second home to us. This seven race series sees the world’s top trail runners battle each other – and changeable mountain conditions – on the challenging trails around the majestic Mont Blanc.
Europe’s ultimate trail ultra
The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc is the pinnacle of mountain ultra competition - in Europe at least. The races include the TDS (145km / 9100m+), OCC (55km / 3500m+), CCC (100km / 6100m+), but the biggest challenge comes at the end of the week with the headline race - the UTMB. A looped course around the Mount Blanc, those brave enough to accept face 171.5 kilometers (106.5 miles) with more than 10,000 meters (32,800 feet) of lung-busting climbing and a similar helping of quad-busting, technical descent. That’s more than summiting Everest. Throw in high altitude, wind, rain, cold, darkness and sleep-deprivation and running doesn’t get much tougher than this.
The elites cover the UTMB course in around 20 hours, the rest follow in those fast footsteps a little more slowly. Some take up to 46.5 hours, including two nights without sleep, to return to a rapturous welcome on the streets of Chamonix. But boy is it a welcome worth pushing for.
Superhuman elites and regular runners join this week-long celebration of human spirit and endeavour in Chamonix, ready to run to ultra victory. After a year without it due to Covid, coming back to Chamonix and the World Cup of ultra trail running was extra special for all of us.