About the Race


If ultramarathons were mountains, the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) would be Annapurna – notoriously difficult and extraordinarily beautiful. With 33,000 ft in elevation gain, there’s a reason qualifying is so difficult! The UTMB is actually part of a weeklong celebration of trail running, based out of Chamonix. In addition to the famous 106-mile race, there are shorter races (25, 35, 60, and 75 miles) for those less keen on pain. On the other end, there’s the wild La Petite Trotte à Léon, which is a 186-mile race with 98,400 ft of elevation gain. Chamonix’s trail network is an endless web of opportunities for adventure. Each route – through forests, alongside glaciers, past turquoise lakes – is so strikingly different that you could spend years here and never get bored. Just remember, no trip to Chamonix is complete without a trip up to Aiguille du Midi (12,600 ft), the highest point on Mont Blanc that’s reachable by cable car. Who knows, maybe you’ll get inspired and take on the 15,770 ft Mont Blanc summit.

“You can hurt more than you ever thought possible, then continue until you discover that hurting isn't that big a deal.”

- Scott Jurek

If you dream of finishing the UTMB, you should know that getting to the start line is only half the battle. Along the way, there numerous stringent cut-off points. If you do not make even one of them in time, you will be disqualified. Buses from the aid stations back to Chamonix are filled with runners who didn’t quite make it, or fell far behind due to some unforeseen issue. Runners may choose to continue running outside of the race, but without the support of aid stations – which close right after the cut-off point for that station – the already challenging course becomes almost impossible. The final cut-off is reaching the finish line within 46 hours and 30 minutes of the race start. This may seem like a long time, but many runners need every second of it. If all that sounds like a bit much, Chamonix is also famous for the Marathon du Mont Blanc, which has a 50-miler, marathon, and several shorter distances. But don’t think a race will be easy just because it’s short. The vertical kilometer covers 1,000m (3,280 ft) in less than 2.5 miles.

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