Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc: A monster event for extreme runners



The departure of the UTMB, for 171 km and 10000 meters of D +, is expected this Friday at the stroke of 18h

It takes guts, anguish, sublime and puts in bulk: More than 2300 runners throw themselves to corp lost Friday in Chamonix in the flagship event of the Ultra-Trail of Mont Blanc (UTMB) for 171 kilometers around the most high top of Europe.

Very good shoes, a headlamp, a backpack as light as possible, a beacon of location, a mind to all tests and go for the UTMB, a loop of 171 km including 10,000 m of positive elevation, across three countries (France, Switzerland and Italy).

A course in semi-autonomy (refueling points), day and night during which you have to brave the changing elements of the mountain such as cold, rain, heat. And like the cycling Tour de France, the trails are lined with hundreds of screaming spectators.

The best, including triple winner Xavier Thevenard, will hit in 20 hours. Fans – a community that has gained ground since the creation of the UTMB in 2003 – will have to be fulfilled within a limit of 46:30.

"It's a dream, a culmination, we'll say what we want, we like it or we do not, but whatever it is, the UTMB is something you can not miss, it's the dream of any runner, as a marathoner dreams of doing the New York marathon An ultra-trailer, one day, he must make the UTMB "explains Benoît Claraz, a dental technician, who has been running the trail for 6 years and will start for the first Friday at 18:00.

Montpelliérain came with his family to live an exceptional moment "in a world apart".

A dream at 2000 euros

Stéphane Minguenaud is also accompanied by his family, his wife and two children, to try to achieve his first 171 km around Mont Blanc.

"My close family said to me: it's just anything, it's crazy, my friends have sponsored me and have created a Facebook page to go all the way …"says the engineer before stopping, moved to tears by evoking the support of his own.

"My dad is going to run one of the greatest trails in the world, and I'm very proud of him", blows his eldest son, Antoine, who came with his dad to take away the precious bib, in a gigantic room with palpable emotion, where hundreds of runners snake to fulfill all the formalities.

The challenge of this runner "lambda", who runs for an association (To each his Everest), has a cost: about 2000 euros, between registration fees and accommodation.

"It's a big budget, it's not open to everyone, for many it's complicated, it's a pity it becomes commercial"the Francilien slips, motivated by the idea of ​​cruising Mont-Blanc where big names in mountaineering and ultra-trail have set foot.

Thevenard: "Know why we are here"

He will take the start with one of them, Xavier Thévenard, an ultra-trailer pro, who can mark the history of the event by becoming the first to line up four victories.

But that's not what makes this Jurassian run. "We have to know why we are here, what is the deep motivation that drives us to be on the starting line and participate in the Mont-Blanc tour.For some, it's being in this crowd with this magical atmosphere, to be recognized by these spectators and be passed as a hero "says Thévenard. "For others, who go in my direction, is to say that I'm going to take a monster foot to run in the mountains, spend a great time on 20 hours of effort, and especially get here in Chamonix, the Saturday, being loose to be able to move for 3 days, that's what I like!"he continues.

At his side, there will be some 2,300 runners, representing a hundred nationalities. Lily Suryani came from Indonesia. "The UTMB is the top of the ultra-trail If you are a real ultra-trailer, you must make and finish the UTMB!"warns the young woman from Bali, who made clothes she sold around her to offer her adventure at Mont Blanc.

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