Bucket list: UTMB

Europe's toughest foot race is also one of its most picturesque – the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is an event like no other



Perhaps the world’s premier ultramarathon, the UTMB takes in three countries and 168K (104 miles) of hard mountain running.


Friday 29-31 August, 2014.


Starts and finishes in Chamonix, south-eastern France, before venturing through Italy and Switzerland.


The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc ultramarathon boasts a captivating path through seven valleys, 71 glaciers and over 400 summits while trekking across three countries. It attracts over 2,000 participants every year, before sending them on their way through a total elevation gain of nearly 10,000m.

How much?

Race entry: €207 (£165). Return flight from London Heathrow to Geneva Airport, Switzerland: £225. Two nights in a hotel: £150. Post-race beverage: £4. Total cost: £544.

How tough?

Now in its 12th year, the UTMB is limited to a maximum race time of 46 hours. Its sheer hardship proved too much for 655 of the 722 runners that signed up to the opening race back in 2003, only 67 resolute competitors making it to the finishing line back in Chamonix. Renowned as “the race of all the superlatives”, the UTMB is an event every strong-willed runner should try at least once in their lifetime.

What’s the record?

20:05:58 – Dawa Sherpa (Nepal)

How do I enter?

The event is limited to a maximum of 2,300 runners, with participants coming from all corners of the globe. However, registration for the UTMB is only permitted to competitors who have already gained experience and who can prove it. You need to have acquired a minimum of seven points from a specific list of qualification races within a specified period. More information on the entry process can be found here.



Rick Pearson

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