Every August since 2001 over 2000 runners from around the world will toe the line in Chamonix at the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc, often referred to as the UTMB. UnTapped has two athletes taking on this years edition of the race. Rachel Long and Andrew Drummond have been training hard over these past months to prepare for this massive event, all fueled by maple of course. We also reached out to Julbo Eyewear CEO and long time friend of UnTapped Nick Yardley, who is a veteran of the event, for his insight. Read on for a profile of the Who, What, When, Why and How of this legendary event.
Thousands of runners, spectators and volunteers from around the world flock to the Chamonix region of France for a week long festival of extreme ultra-trail races every August. The competitors range from dedicated amateurs to seasoned professional runners. UnTapped will have two athletes toeing the line at this years event, Andrew Drummond and Rachel Long.
Residence: East Madison, NH
Past Ultra-Marathon Accomplishments: Crewed Scott Jurek 100 miles through the White Mountains & logged my first “real” ultra last September at The Vermont 50 Miler.
Social Media: Snapchat & Instagram: sr_drummond, YouTube: asdrummo, Blog: www.skithewhites.com
Sponsors: Fischer Alpine Sports, Julbo Eyewear, NEMO Equipment, and HOKA ONE ONE
Residence: Stowe, Vermont
Social Media: Instagram: @rachellong91 Strava: Rachel Long
Sponsors: Osprey, Vermont Peanut Butter Company, Natures Bakery, Sombra Mezcal, Skida
The UTMB is one of the most, if not the most, challenging races of the week, here is the overview by the numbers:
-10,000+ Meters of Elevation Gain
-170KM of total running distance.
-Up to 2500 participants
-The top contenders will finish in less than 22 hours
“It’s an exceptionally well run event with crowd participation and support that will blow the mind of any USA ultra runner, [we] simply have nothing that comes close to this in the USA. You’ll be amazed at the assortment and quantity of food available at the aid stations”
“UTMB is a week-long running festival based out of Chamonix, France. The UTMB race is just one of the five races that occur that week but deserves all the attention. It’s a beast of a race: 103 miles with 31.5’k vertical gain and starts at 6pm so you’re starting the race heading into the night. I initially was headed over to Chamonix to document the races but as part of my press pass application there was a spot for “media bibs”. As long as I had the points I could get entry into one of the races so I’ll be racing in the OCC (Orsières-Champex-Chamonix) which for the “baby” race is still a beast. The course is spread over 34 miles with over 11,500 feet of climbing.”
This years week long festival will take place between August 22nd – 28th.
“Without doubt this will be the most emotional and fantastic race you’ll ever toe the line at. I’m not a guy partial to tears but it’s hard to not let them well up at the start with all the music and excitement as you’re jammed in to the little square, with hundreds of other competitors from around the world.”
“UTMB is a week-long party culminating with a little running. No, in all seriousness it has become a marquee international event that attracts runners from all over the world. The course is big in every way – it rolls over numerous peaks, rivers, glaciers, and transects three countries (France, Switzerland, and Italy). It’s one of those bucket list races because it ticks all the boxes.”
“There are so many amazing races around the world but UTMB, at least to me, exemplifies camaraderie in the ultra world. This race brings together thousands of people from all over the world to run an insanely challenging course. We all come together, we all take care of each other out there in the mountains, and we do it because we love it. We love to run and we love the challenge that this race presents.”
“I’ll be training for this event in my backyard starting with my White Mountain Direttissima attempt later this month. If my body holds up through that then I should be in great shape heading into UTMB!”
“My training started back in early march. I built up a pretty good mileage base in NYC and hit the trails in San Francisco and Oregon while finishing up my year teaching. I’m currently training in Vermont working on speed hiking Mansfield ski trails, scrambling parts of the long trail, and searching for the vert on most of my runs. I’ve also been practicing steep technical uphills using running/trekking poles, but I’m still pretty awkward with them. On July 19 my training officially switches over to the Alps starting in Zermatt, Switzerland and a few weeks later in Chamonix, France where UTMB starts and finishes. While I train in Europe I’m really going to focus on getting to know some of the climbs on the course. Climbing is my biggest weakness and I want to confront it head on in these next few weeks leading up to the race.”