Tag Archives: Ultra Trail World Tour



DSC_7195UTMB is a monster of a course covering three countries in its 170km. It starts in Chamonix, France heads into Italy and then Switzerland before crossing the border once again to return to France and the screaming crowds lining the Chamonix streets. Chamonix gets all the plaudits but Courmayeur in Italy plays an important role in UTMB. It’s a pleasant mountain town in the Aosta Valley at the base of Mont Blanc. It’s also the start for CCC and is the first major place on the UTMB course where runners can pick up a drop bag and take on substantial fuel.


Hernando concentrates on every detail

The UTMB start time is 6pm and by the time the elite runners reach Courmayeur at 78km it’s around 2:43am. The aid station is in the large Sports Center.  Food, drink and the all-important drop bags have been laid out awaiting the runners. The station stays open until 1pm the next day, and the volunteers will be in for a long night and day.

The café in the aid station is doing a roaring trade selling espressos and beer. There are some late night revellers, lots of media and the elite runners crews. Their pitstop is not too different from that of a Formula 1 team, and just like in F1, there are differing processes.

There is an air of anticipation. Everyone has been waiting for a long time, we are all high on espressos.


Chaverot arrives with media attention

Then cheering announces the arrival of the lead group. There are four runners and each of their crews is ready for action. The runners head in to the building and are guided up two flights of stairs. Their sweat is dripping.  It’s a mild night out there, and they have been moving at a good pace. The iRunFar crew has already recorded and snapped the arrival.  Other media and photographers charge around the airy hall to see each of the four runners and their crew, taking photos, filming, and trying to find out any snippets of info and observe how they feel and what they are eating and drinking.


Last few details before Thevenard heads out


Castanyer eyes the others while taking vital fluids

Practised crews replace water bottles and load up with new gels while the runner quickly drinks and eats, whilst also looking out the corner of their eye at the other three runners. Thevenard is first to start to leave and there is a sudden rush of activity from the others. Each of them doesn’t want to lose seconds or minutes but they are also acutely aware that they must take on vital fuel otherwise their race could end. It’s a fine line.

Quickly, the four are gone and the crews are packing up. They must head to the next aid station. It’s been less than five minutes of frantic activity and we all return to a sense of calm and anticipation until the next arrival.


This article appeared in the November edition of Ultra Running Magazine.  Get your subscription here.

All images are copyright – Ian Campbell Photography












The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc organisation announced today that Columbia Sportswear Company are now involved as a partner of UTMB.  It was also announced that The North Face will cease their involvement with UTMB after 12 successful years.

The full press announcement from UTMB is below.

The Mont Blanc massif

The Mont Blanc massif

A new start for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®

As of today the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® is proud and happy to welcome three new brands from the Columbia Sportswear Company – Columbia, Mountain Hardwear and Montrail – into its Partners Club. These three brands share the spirit, enthusiasm and passion which are all part of the event’s DNA. Their intention is to be highly involved with the development of the UTMB® event 2015 (August 24th-30th) and beyond.

“We are very excited to support this iconic, world class event that brings together such a large number of outdoor athletes setting new boundaries for the sport.” says Franco Fogliato, SVP, General Manager EMEA, Columbia Sportswear Company. “Our brands are committed to deliver unique products and technologies to support all participants and outdoor enthusiasts in the most challenging conditions.”

“Mountain Hardwear is a proud partner of the UTMB. The UTMB brings together the largest and most diverse global community of outdoor, mountain and trail running cultures to test themselves on the most demanding, beautiful, awe-inspiring trails in the world.” says Topher Gaylord, President Mountain Hardwear and several times Finisher of the UTMB (2nd at the first race edition). “The spirit of commitment, resolve and camaraderie bonds runners to each other – and the will to finish”.

In 12 years the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® has become an event which successfully runs five large races recognised by trail runners worldwide. It links together communities and the world of trail-running around common values and enthusiasm as it travels through three countries – France, Italy and Switzerland.
The UTMB® is following its path through team spirit and the sense of sharing that it has had from the very start.

Columbia Sportswear Company is a leading innovator in the global apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment markets. Columbia Sportswear Company designs, develops, markets and distributes active outdoor and lifestyle products under the following brands: Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, Sorel, Montrail and prAna.

The North Face and UTMB

The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® and The North Face® agreed not to renew their partnership. The success of the 2014 edition concluded twelve years of a very positive cooperation for both organizations.

“During 12 years of shared adventure, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® and The North Face® have woven together the necessary solid links to give the event an international dimension. UTMB® continues on his way with the same team spirit and sharing that he has shown since the beginning” – Catherine Poletti

Source – UTMB organisation press release. 



A great film from Billy Yang about an American runner Sally McRae who finished 10th at WS100 this year.  A really well put together film charting the story of Sally McRae. Emotional and moving at many times its worth watching. A fantastic sound track accompanies the film.

Watch and enjoy!


Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2014 Pre Race Press Conference

Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2014
Pre Race Press Conference

See the link to http://www.irunfar.com preview on The North Face –  Lavaredo Ultra Trail.

All Images are copyright – Ian Campbell – photography




On the way to La Palma to cover Transvulcania.  Spent the last seven hours (waiting for a ferry from Tenerife to La Palma) in great company with Richard Felton of Profeet.   Its hot so looks like it going to be a scorcher for those running the race.

The VK tomorrow at 1600 should be excellent. It will be great being on the VK course. Looking to get some great shots of the runners and spectacular scenery.