Back to grid

Running in the Clouds at the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc

On laces up for the UTMB as the ultimate festival of trail running returns to Chamonix, the town we call our second home.

 

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. 

 

 

UTMB heroes

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. 

 

 

Running on clouds

Facing the challenge of his second UTMB race, On athlete, Germain Grangier battled the breathtaking inclines and jaw-dropping descents to race to the finish in 5th place with a speedy 21 hours 52 minutes and 47 seconds. The Frenchman continues to build on his previous successes at the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and cement himself as one of the world’s best ultra runners.

 

 

Peaks performance

The last time we gathered at Chamonix trail running champion, Katie Schide, won the 90km Marathon du Mont Blanc and came 6th in the UTMB. This year, Katie returned to the peaks of Mont Blanc, to take on the challenge of the 2021 UTMB, completing the race in 27 hours 39 minutes and 45 seconds to secure 8th place.

 

 

Making a name on the trails

Having taken up ultra-running as a way to unwind after long hospital shifts, On athlete Marion Delespierre continues to make a name for herself amongst the ultra trail running elites. Finishing fourth with an impressively fast time of 25 hours 54 minutes and 33 seconds in this year’s UTMB, Marion’s performance in Chamonix shows she’s nothing short of superhuman.

 

 

Meeting your heroes

They say you should never meet your heroes but when they’re made like On athlete Xavier Thévenard, that advice no longer counts. The three-time UTMB winner took time out before the race to sign posters, snap selfies and offer tips and inspiration to his fellow runners at the On booth.

 

 

Racing through the valleys

On athletes Antoine Charvolin and Candice Fertin joined runners at Chamonix for the OCC. The race takes runners through the naturally stunning Swiss Valais region, starting in Orsières in the southwest of the Val d’Entremont before reaching Champex. This year, Antoine finished 8th for the men (05:28:45) and Candice 7th for the women (06:28:35).

 

 

A Taste of the UTMB Trail 

We hosted two morning runs from our HQ at La Folie Douce. To give runners a small taste of the trails that UTMB racers face. Incredible views and a healthy dose of vertical included. They also got the chance to test the all-new Cloudventure and Cloudultra on the technical terrain they were designed for. 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by

And finally a big thanks to the hundreds of runners who stopped by our booth in the Salon du UTMB to check out our latest trail-taming and ultra-friendly shoes, the Cloudventure and Cloudultra. After a tough year of isolation it was magical to be able to meet and hear about your running hopes, dreams and tales of adventure. We brought the shoes, you brought the magic.

Be first to hear about our latest releases, special offers and training tips by signing up for the On Newsletter.


By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to On’s Privacy Policy.