As of this week I enter my second 4 week block of peak training for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. The event is 7 weeks away and so I thought to post a quick update.
The UTMB is a 166 km ultra trail run around the highest peak in Western Europe (Mont Blanc). We start in Chamonix, France and then run counter clockwise into Italy, Switzerland and back to the start. The route follows the Trail du Mont Blanc hiking trail for the majority of the way. The big challenge (besides the distance to cover) is that we have 9500m of altitude gain and loss over that distance. That is a massive 57m/km on average. So my training diet has been hills, hills and some more. See my post “In Search of a Hill”
Check out the profile here:
I fly to France on the 12th of August and the race starts on the 27th of August. I plan to spend the first week before the race hiking the second half of the route and acclimatising along the way. On the 22nd Mel (who will be seconding me) arrives and we will do some touristy type things and generally go through the final prep for the race. Mel and my sister Annie are going to be travelling around the course and their task of supplying me with various items which I need is one not to be taken lightly! I owe them big for just agreeing to this madness!
The cut-off for UTMB is 46 hours and I hope to finish somewhere around 36 hours or so. So many things are unknown and many unknowns can influence that. I will only have a better idea of how things turn out from about 100 km in! The event starts at 18h30 in the evening so sleep deprivation will be a real issue. I hope to be able to finish before I need a sleep break but I will have to see how it goes. One thing is for sure: unexpected things will happen.
The question is just how we can sort them out. I really feel like a small cog in this machine. One thing is for sure when I cross the finish line Mel, Annie and I will cross the finish line together.
Support stations will be about 3 – 4h apart at my pace so I will have a fair size pack with me.
This is whole experience and journey so big for me. Right now this feels like the biggest thing in my running or even climbing career. It is the same feeling I got before my first trip to Yosemite in 1999 when I climbed The Nose route.
There will be some pretty big names competing at the top level at the event. Killian Jornet, Geoff Roes, Karl Meltzer, Scott Jurek are all billed to be there. Those guys will finish anywhere from 21 hours so I won’t even get to see them but it could be quite a fun thing to follow if you are interested.
The race website can be found here.
Here is an overview map of the course:
So that is why I have been running with a pack and with extra weight. I will keep you up to date on my prep here. I plan to post info on kit and a bit more detail on my training in the next couple of weeks. The race is just around the corner and there is a mountain of stuff I need to do!
Hope you have the time to follow this journey!