Having raced both finishing UTMB CCC in 2010 and UTMB TDS 2011 I had a quite experience on UTMB races and want to do UTMB 166km in future. This Frequently Asked Questions -UTMB FAQ are formed to ease your planning, racing and other actions before UTMB registration, preparation, getting there, accommodation and racing.
What is UTMB ?
UTMB is the ultimate trail running race called Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. You can review their web site and content for information about Europe and Worlds one of the toughest foot race.
How many courses UTMB does have ?
Four. CCC, TDS, UTMB and PTL are the four different courses with 98km, 112km, 166km and 290km respectively. You can click here names to get more detailed explanations.
How should I get trained for them ?
You can read my training program that I tried to obey in previous years. I simply adapted this program from Internet and by consulting some ultra runners in WW and Turkey. This program is also similar to the program that Bryon Powell explains in his book “Relentless Forward Progress“.
When should I plan to train ?
Normally 24 week extensive training could be enough for CCC and TDS if you are a 4:00 marathon runner and experienced trail runner. If you don`t meet these requirements I would suggest to do more trail running races and also run at least 2-3 qualifying races before thinking about registering UTMB. You can watch training advices and videos from here.
How can I register UTMB? Is there qualification methodology ?
Yes there is. You can read it by clicking here.
What are the obligatory materials to carry during the race ?
You can look to the obligatory material list from this link.
Do you have any videos from your previous races?
For CCC videos you can click here. On the other hand we had a professional documentary during the CCC with professional Cameraman, footage from the organization and GoPro cameras you can watch the total 10 episodes by clicking here.
Where is the closest airport to go to UTMB?
Geneve. You can use Alpy bus or SAT bus services to get to Chamonix. I used train once but was a longer route. Bus is cheaper if you book online from here and advance by reserving. UTMB and PTL starts in Chamonix, France. CCC and TDS starts in Courmayeur, Italy. But all the joy and entertainment is going on Chamonix. You have to stay and at least enjoy the atmosphere once. You can click word “Chamonix” to get detailed information about Chamonix village. You can also have a return trip by arranging a pick-up service from Chamonix from your bus service.
What are the tips during the registration ?
You have to get up early and finish the registration earlier. After that you can enjoy the sports equipment and races fair where you can buy stuff, gear, gels at the same time meet with racers and get informed about other races presented in this fair. During registration mind that every single equipment should be with you as the officials will check these. Do not forget to register your loved ones Mobile numbers as they can follow you by SMS when you are going beyond every check point.
Where to stay ?
Staying close to Chamonix city center is easy before and after the race and for logistics. You can have hostels bit far away but again in walking distances. Beware that if you are in a hotel where the race starts, ends and closer to the finish line, you cannot sleep after Thursday night as runners will arrive in cheer and noise. So mind your selection of the location. You can look t the Chamonix city center from here.
How is the weather during the race period ?
UTMB is always the last week of August. Weather during this time is unpredictable. You can have heavy showers, rain, sun cold, wind at the same time. So pack your equipment well if you are going with your family and kids.
Are there any good stores in Chamonix ?
There are great outdoor stores like Ravanel or the fair which starts on Wednesday brings all the major sport equipment stores to your feet as there will be more than 5.000 runners and friend will be in Chamonix at that time period. On the other hand due to the variety of sports that you can do in the region you can find cycling, mountaineering and ski equipment.
When I am racing will my family get bored in a small town like Chamonix ?
Absolutely not. They will enjoy hiking, walking, eating good food, trying cheese fondue, chocolate. Children have chance to play in sponsors events and also cheer up welcoming the racers from their epic journeys. Also you can have lifts till to 2500meters and enjoy the view and mountains. Some other sports can be also tried like mountain downhill, Paragliding, rock climbing, cruising with a Segway or renting a mountain bike. Ladies can find variety of good quality shops to stroll like Montclair.
Do I need to rent a car from Geneve to come to Chamonix ?
Well, yes but not recommended if you are not crewing your racers. If you are helping your racer as a crew then you have to follow the checkpoint by car. I do not recommend it due to cost, logistics and etc.
Can you describe the TDS course as you have finished 120km of the course ?
You start in Courmayeur. After a 2 km jog with crowd you start climbing from a trail to a ski resort. This walk or run takes about 1 hours. After that you can jog/run downhill between 11th and 21th.
Then you will walk and jog 9kms more. After that between 30-44th km you will pass villages and small towns and some asphalt roads to the CP.
Between 44 and 61st km you cannot run uphill more than 3-4 km`s if you are not an elite athlete.Between 61st and 64th km is grass muddy surface climbing. Between 64 and 69th kilometers you can jog through descent carefully.
69th and 73rd kilometers are tough you can only walk or climb. Even 73 and 80th kilometers show descent it is technical and you have to beware of the road.
You can jog 80-84th kilometers slowly and run 85-89th as it is fully flat inside a forest. Between 89-92 can be jogged if you have enough energy.
But is uphill. 92-96th kilometers are very steep. You can only climb. It is very windy. And if you are passing here in day time, it is the common way for trekkers so there might be some traffic.
Between 96 and 100th kilometers is very technical descent. After 100th km last 1.5 kilometers is asphalt. 104 and 112th kilometers is almost flat till to the finish line inside a forest near the river.
Is the race always crowded is the way marked well ?
Yes the road is marked well. There are special yellow reflective material in every 100 or 200 meters. Else in the asphalt pavements there are special paints that show the route. You cannot get lost. It is impossible.
How are the check points and what kind of food are there in the check points ?
The checkpoints are very well equipped. You have soda, water and Coke to drink as well as tea and coffee. For the food section some of the CPs have Soup and Pasta. All Food CPs have cheese, nuts, crackers, chcohlate bars, fruit, salami and energy foods.
How is your race bib and where is the chip positioned ?
Your race bib has a chip which is water proof and taped on the back of it. In every CP a special device is hold to your Bib so that your time is sent to the HQ of the race and to your loved ones via SMS if you registered before. You also wear a special electronic chip on your wrist. It has different colors. Red is UTMB, Blue is CCC, Green is TDS and purple for PTL.
What do you recommend for shoe to wear during UTMB ?
For TDS and CCC due to the terrain i do not recommend shoes with very spiky soles. Like Salomon SpeedCross, FellCross or La sportiva. Salomon S-Lab XT Wings, XA Ultra, CrossMax and other shoes similar to these types are the ones i would prefer.
What is your recommended pack to use during UTMB ?
There are too many good brands in world wide. Raidlight Olmo 5, 20, North Face enduro 13, Salomon XT Wings 5 are good if you want to carry two bottles and fill it easily during the check points. Some might be small due to the excess obligatory material. I prefer Salomon Advanced skin S-Lab 12 which fits my body, does not move, slip and hurt my back.
How many gels or food should i carry during my race ?
Normally check points are enough for food and drinks. I try to carry around a gel for each 1.5 hours of my race. I also carry salt tablets and some raw food.
Do we have chance to see elite athletes during, before or after the race ?
If you go to the start area you can be just behind them. Also at the finish line or in some press conferences of The North Face and Salomon you can meet with them.
I will be adding more questions and answers to here and update frequently….
Please send any of yur questions to me to answer and put here by commenting this post.
Diğer Yarış Raporları – Other Race Reports