One Dirty Magazine

UTMB: By the Numbers

Factoids about what many tout as the Super Bowl of Trail Racing, which attracts 10,000 runners to Chamonix, France.

Mike Benge August 26th, 2019

UTMB: By the Numbers Homecountry boy Xavier Thevenard wins UTMB for the third time. Will 2019 bring a record fourth victory?

Brought to you by COLUMBIA

From August 26 through September 1, a hoard of runners will descend upon Chamonix, France, participating in one of Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc’s handful of challenging mountain races. With a long tradition of mountain sports, the intoxicatingly stunning town lies beneath the towering hulk of glacier-capped Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps and flanked by a procession of soaring granite spires. The summit of perhaps the ridge’s most impressive formation, the Aguille du Midi, can be accessed by an improbably steep tram ride right from town.

Surveying the massif with neck craned back, you can hardly fathom that Kilian Jornet has run from the church in the town center to the summit of Mont Blanc—and back—in 4 hours 57 minutes!

Across the valley is the red-hued, snaggle-toothed ridge of the Aiguilles Rouges, capped just above town by the jutting Le Brévent, where an ever-present flock of paragliders soars like colorful vultures. A constant stream of trail runners getting in some last-minute training ascends the renowned Vertical Kilometer route to the Brévent-tram mid-station, a 1,043-meter climb in just 3.5 kilometers. (For us Yanks, that’s 3,421 feet of ascending in just 2.1 miles.)

On scene to document the week’s action, the Trail Runner crew (in partnership with Columbia), including Assistant Editor Zoë Rom, Contributing Editor and Chamonix resident Doug Mayer and Editor Michael Benge, ascended the route’s 78 switchbacks capped by an exposed rock-scrambling section with iron ladders and steps drilled into the rock for added security. On top, the team savored café au laits and then a knee-saving tram ride back to town, where we recovered in a grassy park while watching paragliders come swooping in for landings.

During UTMB week, the town teems with an international throng of trail runners, a scene unlike any in the United States. You don’t feel out of place walking down the busy mall area (cars not allowed) with your hydration vest and running kit. In fact, you’ll likely get passed in both directions by similarly clad runners returning from training runs.

Trail Runner Assistant Editor Zoë Rom and Associate Publisher Ben Yardley get serious with tarts at Refuge du Plan de Laiguille, after a four mile training jaunt with 3,700 feet of climbing the day before running the MCC race.

The energy is town is palpable. Writing this, I was able to watch live video of our Associate Publisher Ben Yardley and Rom bust out of the gate for the start of the MCC via UTMB’s Instagram. Open to race volunteers and workers, the MCC begins in the village of Maligny, and ends—where all the UTMB races do—beneath an arch in the center of Chamonix, next to the church and mayor’s office. The MCC is the shortest of the races, and travels 40 kilometers with a rugged 7,500 feet of climbing.

So, as the tension builds for the week’s other races, here are some factoids we hope will stimulate your interest in this incredible spectacle in our sport.

A sidewalk in the sky—action from today’s MCC race.
VERTICALITY

3,396

Elevation in feet of Chamonix

 

15,777

Elevation in feet of Mont Blanc

 

12,605

Elevation in feet of the Aguille du Midi

 

The scenery helps to mask the pain.
ACRONYM SOUP—THE RACES

(aside from a couple of youth races and MCC, there are five races, culminating with the famous UTMB)

 

PTL/August 26, 8:00 a.m.

  • 300 kilometers
  • 25,000 meters of climbing over 30 passes in 3 countries
  • Teams of 2 or 3 runners
  • Course changes every year
  • 151:30 time cutoff

 

TDS/August 28, 4:00 a.m.

  • 145 kilometers
  • 9,100 meters of climbing
  • 1,600 runners
  • 42:00 time cutoff

 

OCC/August 29, 8:15 a.m.

  • 56 kilometers
  • 3,500 meters of climbing
  • 1,200 runners
  • 14:30 time cutoff
U.S. runner Katie Schide smiles on her way to a second-place finish in last year’s CCC. She will be competing in this year’s UTMB, starting at 6 p.m. this Friday, August 30.

CCC/August 30, 9:00 a.m.

  • 101 kilometers
  • 6,100 meters of climbing
  • 1,900 runners
  • 26:30 time cutoff

 

UTMB/August 30, 6:00 p.m.

  • 171 kilometers
  • 10,000 meters of climbing
  • 2,300 runners
  • 46:30 time cutoff
Miao Yao of China cruises to victory in the CCC in 2018.
DIVERSITY—Number of runners by country

France 4104

Spain 892

Italy 695

UK 545

China 397

Japan 317

Switzerland 332

USA 263

Poland 253

Belgium 234

Hong Kong 212

Portugal 170

Germany 140

Argentina 116

Sweden 99

Brazil 93

Canada 83

Australia 73

Finland 63

Thailand 62

In 2017, runner-up Kilian Jornet congratulates Francois D’Haene on a giant win.
WINNERS’ CIRCLE

2003
UTMB ‐ 155 km
Dawa DACHHIRI SHERPAS (NP) 20:05
Kristen SYBROWSKY-MOEHL (USA) 29:40

2004
UTMB® ‐ 155 km
Vincent DELEBARRE (FR) 21:06
Colette BORCARD (CH) 26:08

2005
UTMB ‐ 155 km
Christophe JAQUEROD (CH) 21:12
Elizabeth HAWKER (UK) 26:53

2006
UTMB ‐ 158 km
Marco OLMO (IT) 21:06
Karine HERRY (FR) 25:22

CCC ‐ 86 km
Corinne FAVRE (FR) 10:35 First overall and first woman

2007
UTMB ‐ 163 km

Marco OLMO (IT) 21:31

Nikki KIMBALL (USA) 25:13

CCC ‐ 86 km
Julien CHORIER (FR) 10:19

Andrea URSINA (CH) 12:28

2008
UTMB ‐ 166 km
Kilian JORNET (ES) 20:5

Elizabeth HAWKER (GB) 25:1

CCC ‐ 98 km
Guillaume LENORMAND (FR) 12:26

Lucy COLQUOUN (GB) 14:33

2009
UTMB ‐ 166 km
Kilian JORNET (ES) 21:33

Kristin MOEHL (USA) 24:56

CCC ‐ 98 km
Jean-Yves REY (CH) 11:40

Chantal BEGUE (FR) 16:5

TDS ‐ 106 km
Patrick BOHARD (FR) 14:01

Fernanda MACIEL (ES) 17:17

2010
UTMB ‐ 88 km (alternative route)
Jez BRAGG (UK) 10:30

Elisabeth HAWKER (UK) 11:47

CCC ‐ 98 km
Xavier THÉVENARD (FR) 11:57

Maud GIRAUD (FR) 14:07

TDS ‐ canceled

2011
UTMB – 170 km
Kilian JORNET (ES) 20:36

Elisabeth HAWKER (GB) 25:02

CCC ‐ 93 km
Emmanuel GAULT (FR) 10:10

Virginie COVIGNON (FR) 12:47

TDS ‐ 110 km
Franck BUISSIERE (FR) 15:51

Jolanda LINSCHOOTEN (NL) 20:57

2012

UTMB ‐ 103.42 km (alternative route)
François D’HAENE (FR) 10:32:36

Elizabeth HAWKER (UK) 12:32:13

CCC ‐ 86 km
Tofol CASTAÑER BERNAT (ESP) 08:57:04

Ellie GREENWOOD (UK) 11:17:24

TDS ‐ 114 km
Dawa SHERPA (NP) 14:37:07
Agnès HERVÉ (FR) 19:07:00

2013
UTMB ‐ 168 km
Xavier THÉVENARD (FR) 20:34:57 Rory BOSIO (USA) 22:37:26

CCC ‐ 101 km
Jordi BES (ES) 11:23:01
Caroline CHAVEROT (FR) 14:12:00

TDS ‐ 119 km
Arnaud JULIA BONMATI (ES) 15:09:59

Nathalie MAUCLAIR (FR) 17:36:41

2014
UTMB ‐ 168 km
François D’HAENE (FR) 20:11:44

Rory BOSIO (USA) 23:23:20

CCC ‐ 101 km
Pau BARTOLO (ES) 11:21:16
Anne Lise ROUSSET (FR) 14:28:48

TDS ‐ 119 km
Xavier THEVENARD (FR) 14:10:37

Teresa NIMES PEREZ (ES) 18:41:12

OCC ‐ 53 km
Nicolas MARTIN (FR) 05:07:45

Sonia GLAREY (IT) 06:37:40

2015
UTMB ‐ 170 km
Xavier THÉVENARD (FR) 21:09:15

Nathalie MAUCLAIR (FR) 25:15:33

CCC ‐ 101 km
Zach MILLER (USA) 11:53:32

Ruth-Charlotte CROFT (NZL) 12:54:53

TDS ‐ 119 km
Pau BARTOLO (ES) 14:26:40

Andrea HUSER (CH) 16:35:29

OCC ‐ 53 km
Marc PINSACH RUBIROLA (ES) 05:21:38

Célia CHIRON (FR) 06:41:53

2016
UTMB ‐ 170 km
Ludovic POMMERET (FR) 22:00:02

Caroline CHAVEROT (FR) 25:15:40

CCC ‐ 101 km
Michel LANNE (FR) 12:10:04

Mimmi KOTKA (SUE) 13:42:46

TDS ‐ 119 km
Pau CAPELL (ES) 14:45:44

Delphine AVENIER (FR) 18:46:24

OCC ‐ 55 km
Xavier THEVENARD (FR) 05:28:37

Mercedes ARCOS ZAFRA (ES) 06:54:13

2017
UTMB ‐ 166.9 km
François D’HAENE (FR) 19:01:54

Núria PICAS (ES) 25:46:43

CCC ‐ 101 km
Hayden Hawks (US) 10:24:30

Clare Gallagher (US) 12:13:57

TDS ‐ 119 km
Michel Lanne (FR) 14:33:09
Mimmi Kokta (SWE) 15:47:07

OCC ‐ 56km
Marc Lauenstein (SUI) 05:19:34

Eli Gordon Rodriguez (ES) 06:12:16

2018
UTMB ‐ 171 km
Xavier THEVENARD (FR) 20:44:16
Francesca CANEPA (IT) 26:03:48

CCC ‐ 101 km
Tom EVANS (GB) 10:44:32

Miao YAO (CN) 11:57:46

TDS ‐ 119 km
Marcin SWIERC (PO) 13:24:00
Audrey Tanguy (FR) 16:05:22

OCC ‐ 56 km
Erenjia JIA (CN) 05:19:34
Ruth Charlotte CROFT (NZ) 05:53:09

MCC ‐ 40 km
Cesar COSTA (PT) 03:35:41

Kate PALLARDY (US) 04:30:54

The weather can get extreme at the UTMB, so there’s good reason for the mandatory kit.
MANDATORY EQUIPMENT (UTMB, CCC, TDS)
  • Backpack
  • Personal cup 15cl minimum
  • Two headlamps, in good working order with spare cells/batteries for each
  • Identification
  • Cell phone with international roaming allowing for use in the three countries
  • Whistle
  • Self-adhesive elasticized bandage
  • Survival blanket
  • One liter water/minimum
  • Nutrition
  • Waterproof-breathable jacket, pants and gloves
  • Base- and insulating-layer tops
  • Pants/tights
  • Cap
  • Neck gaiter

 

 

 

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