Ultra Trail Mont Blanc FAQ

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 QuestionsUTMB 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.

Emre, What was your gear list during CCC and TDS ?
On CCC I carried these and you can check them here . On TDS my equipment was more lighter and efficient due to experience. Here was my gear list.

Did you wrote your course experiences ?
Yes My UTMB CCC Report can be read by clicking here. More detailed UTMB TDS race report in English can be found here.

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.

What are the informative social web pages for UTMB ?
UTMB Facebook Page, Twitter Page , video page and Multi-language forums can be accessed by clicking these links.

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

The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) - all the stats you

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Thank you

13 Yorum


  1. bt

    Aralık 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    emre bey,

    yukseklik degisimi ile alakali bir problem yasadiniz mi? oraya 1 hafta onceden gidip yukselik degisikligine kendinizi adapte etmek gibi seyler yapmak gerekiyor mu?

  2. emre

    Aralık 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Ilk yarışta 4 gün önceden gitmiştim. Özellikle teleferik ile 2200 metreye çıktıkç Biraz yürüdük 30*40 dakika oturduk. 2. sefer gittiğimde bu yaz, 2500 metreye çıktık. burada oturduk dinlendik, röportaj ve fotoğraf çekimleri yaptık. Biraz yüksekte kalmak önemli. aklimatizasyon yapmak çok kritik bu yarış için…

  3. Ivan Dimitrov

    Mayıs 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I have been bumping to your site for the last year, because I’m gonna run CCC this year. Thanks for the information.
    Best Regards from Bulgaria

  4. emre

    Haziran 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    thank you ivan, good luck, please read mu UTMB TDS race report as well. :-) Emre

  5. Neil

    Temmuz 1, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Hi Emre, Very useful info, especially your comments on the TDS course are most helpful. Thanks.

    This is my first 70 mile trail run in the mountains and was lucky enough to get accepted for this years TDS. I was wondering, with regards to the race bib/number – whats the best way of securing/showing this? does it need to be veiwable at all times? I was think of using a race belt to attach the number. This way I can take it off if I need to change top/wear jacket. My only concern is it might be a bit low down. Also what tips do you have to ward off cramp ? :) I am also going to use my Garmion 310xt and was wondering whats the best setup for this, ie time and heart rate or time and GPS enabled. Any thoughts on this would be cool. Thanks. Neil

  6. Neil

    Temmuz 1, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Hi Emre, Do you have an email address I can PM you on? Im taking part in the TDS this year and have a few questions to ask.

  7. emre

    Temmuz 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

  8. trail junky

    Ağustos 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    emre!! you did not finished in the 2010 ccc…you were stopped in trient, not even vallorcine!! the true experience would have been if you finished in chamonix!

  9. emre

    Ağustos 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I have finished the race in Trient as the race was stopped by the organizer. That year`s CCC gave 2 points to the finishers till to Trient and the race splitted in to 3:
    Finishers in chamonix,
    People who have stopped by organisation in Vallocrine
    and People who have stopped by organisation in Trient.

    That year categorized as 3 races. 72K CCC, 81K CCC and 96K CCC… ( You can look to the approved races in UTMB web site.)

    We wanted to continue but the organisation did not allowed us due to bad weather.

    I was 40minutes before the cutoff… Therefore i put my self in to the category as a 2010 CCC 72K Finisher :-) If that will satisfy you :-)

  10. paul brown

    Ocak 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Emre,thanks for all the information.I would like to know how technical the route of the CCC is.Is it best to train on hills that require scrambling or just steep ascents and descents?Thanks Paul

  11. emre

    Ocak 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Hi Paul, Starting from Courmayeur you will go around 2 km in the asphalt. Than to trail. It is steep but a trail path easy to run or walk. Descent to Arnuva is sometimes steep but again trail with a lot of bends and turns. Arnuva to col ferret is steep hike. No problem on the surface. Col ferrent to Champex the first 3 k is a rocky trail, than you will face some technical steeps with star type rocks. Champex to Bovine is the most technical part of the race. Very steep, rocky impossible to run or fast hike. Bovine to Trient is halp trail (wet) half technical descent . I stopped on 72km Trient in 2010 due to Avalanche. The race was stopped by the officals. I do not know Trient to Chamonix. Good Luck

  12. paul brown

    Ocak 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Hello again Emre.Did you use poles and are the organisers serious about not being allowed to put them in your back pack during the runnable sections?Paul

  13. emre

    Ocak 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I used poles and recommend highly . there is no strict rule about the poles. You can not leave your poles at any point but practically this is not true as well. No body controls if your poles are at your hand or backpack. This races are extremely crowded. So no need to worry. I suggest to have strong but light poles. Folding ones sometimes breaks in rocky sections.

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