The 7th edition of The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc will take place from 25th to 30th of August 2009. It is a race that crosses 3 countries – France, Italy and Switzerland, in a single stage.
This is a race that offers an adventure through 4 different races. Does that sound pretty extreme? Well it is. It’s a mountain ultra- marathon which takes place once a year in the Alps.
Some believe it is the most difficult foot race in Europe.
Basically the route follows the Tour du Mont Blanc hiking path that is usually completed in 7 to 9 days by hikers. It is a loop around Mont Blanc..
4 races are run concurrently, or at least, 2 with the same starting date, one a little earlier and the 4th a day later. It’s going to be quite a week…
La Petite Trotte à Léon is the first to get going on Tuesday, 25th August,2009 late afternoon. It covers 3 countries, will be approximately 250 km in length and 18 000 m of ascent – and it requires complete self-sufficiency. It begins in the centre of Chamonix, Mont-Blanc and is a non-stop race without ranking for 60 teams of 3 runners. Each team must stay together at all times. this is a non-stop raid, non-placed.
Then there’s the Tour du Mont-Blanc and the CCC® (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix) both starting on Friday, 28th August.
The Tour du Mont-Blanc crosses 3 countries and is approximately 166 km with 9400 m of altitude change. It will be semi-autonomous and is expected to take 46 hours max – the start is at 18:30 in the centre of Chamonix Mont-Blanc and a maximum of 2300 participants will be allowed.
The CCC® (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix), on the other hand, whilst also going through the 3 countries is only about 98 km and 5600 m of altitude change. It too is semi-autonomous and should take 25 hours max. It begins at 09:00 in the centre of Courmayeur and will take 1800 participants max.
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.
The last of the 4 races is the Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie [TDS]. This race will be approximately 105km and +/- 6700m . Again semi-autonomous and should take 30 hours max. It starts on Saturday 29th August 2009 at 05:00 in the centre of Chamonix Mont-Blanc and will have a maximum of 1200 participants.
This is a race for top level athletes and the greatest world specialists in ultra-endurance racing. All will be making their bid this year. Last year saw such unrivaled athletes as Marco Olmo (ITA), Christophe Jaquerod (CH), Dawa Sherpa (Nepal) and the Frenchman Vincent Delebarre. Marco Olmo had won it for the previous 2 years. We last spoke about Marco Olmo in May when he was taking part in the Namib ultra-marathon.
Be warned, for the 2008 event, 2000 runners registered in only 7 minutes, 5 months before the race, demonstrating the exponential popularity of this event…
Enrolment for the 2009 race closed on 14th July and will, under no circumstances, be extended. If you are interested in participating in this race you will have to plan for 2010 now.
To get an idea of what this race is all about, have a look at SkinetsCom video of the 2008 race: