Europe’s answer perhaps to all these other ulta and extreme marathons about which we have been writing -The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc is without doubt one of the toughest and most challenging events you could imagine.
The course distance of 163 kms, or 102 miles, starts in Chamonix, France and runs through both Italy and Switzerland, around the Massif du Mont Blanc with a total ascent of over 9,000 metres, or 29,500 feet, and should you be thinking of winning you should be aiming to complete the race, back in Chamonix, in about 21 hours. One massive physical and mental challenge. The race has a 46 hour time limit and maximum 2300 starters.
For those of you without such lofty ambitions there is the less daunting CCC challenge – Courmayeur, Champex and Chamonix which still takes in the three countries but is a mere 96 kms, 60 miles, and with a 5,500 metre, 18,000 feet, positive altitude change. The race has a time limit of 25 hours and a maximum 2000 starters.
For 2009 a new event – Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie – will be staged: distance 105 kms, 66 miles; positive altitude change 6,700 metres, 21,976 feet; 31 hour time limit.
Finally there is La Petite Trotte a Leon – a misnomer if ever there was one for this little ‘trot’, for teams of 3 who must not be separated during the course of the event is an extravagant 220kms, 138 miles, with 17,000 metres, 55,760 feet, of positive altitude change. Wow – the good news: it is non competitive!
For further information on rules, regulation and enrolment, which starts mid December for the 2009 event, to be held 27th/30th August, go to www.ultratrailmb.com As places are limited you are advised not to delay if you want to enrol.
Here is a video from SkinetsCom of the 2008 race won by a Spaniard in 20 hours 56 minutes. The first lady home was British who came home in 27 hours.