Tag Archives: UTMB



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




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Xavier Thevernard – Tetes aux Vents

Xavier Thevenard claimed his second UTMB title to go with his triple crown of UTMB, TDS and CCC triumphs. Running his race throughout he watched as potential threats dropped by the wayside. His lead by the time he reached the cheering crowds in Chamonix was forty-eight minutes.

Nathalie Mauclair won a race of attrition to finally triumph at UTMB arriving in Chamonix in the early evening to the mass of fans lining the streets.


Nathalie Mauclair – Notre Dames des Gorges

Men’s Race

On a warm (28C) Chamonix evening 2,300 runners assembled for the thirteenth edition of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. As seems to be typical of UTMB there are many that run the first five miles to Les Houches at a sprint and this year was no exception. Hitting the front was Erik Clavery, followed by a lead pack that included Luis Alberto Hernando, Tofol Castanyer and Miguel Heras.


Erik Clavery leading the pack into Les Houches

Sage Canaday, Julien Chorier, Thevenard were running within them-selves in a second pack followed by a very comfortable looking Ryan Sandes. Only Thevernard was to finish. Canaday stumbled and required stitches just before Courmayeur, Sandes was having an off day and Chorier dropped much later.

Thevenard and the three Spaniards were to make it as a lead group and push the pace along and by the time they arrived at Courmayeur (78km) there was good breathing space between them and now fifth place American Seth Swanson. Thevenard was out first from Courmayeur to head up the next big climb to Refuge Bonatti. Castanyer, Heras followed shortly with Hernando last out.


Luis Alberto Hernando – Courmayeur

Swanson was to push hard and with Castanyer, Heras dropping he found himself in a solid third place. By the time they reached Tetes Aux Vents (159km) Thevenard had a fifty-six minute lead over a battling Hernando who was only meters ahead of Swanson. It looked like Swanson was to take second, but a fast moving David Laney (eleven minutes behind at Tetes Aux Vents) made up a ton of time on this final downhill section into Chamonix. A speeding Laney ran out of trail to catch Hernando.

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David Laney – Tetes aux Vents

Women’s Race

It was heralded on a paper to be a fantastic contest, Nuria Picas, Caroline Chaverot, Stephanie Howe, Uxue Fraile Azpeitia, Fernanda Maciel, Francesca Canepa and Darcy Africa and of course Nathalie Mauclair.

The heat and brutal course conditions took their toll. Picas and Canepa were first to drop. Chaverot moved to second being tracked by a dogged Mauclair.


Caroline Chaverot arriving in Courmayeur

But Chaverot, in her debut 100miler was having her own issues and eventually had to drop. This left the door wide open for a tough and resilient Nathalie Mauclair, to consolidate her race and reach Chamonix for a well deserved win.

Her lead over second placed Fraile was seventy-four minutes. Switzerland’s Denise Zimmerman passed Spaniard Silvia Trigueros to take the final podium spot.

UTMB Results  

1 Xavier Thevenard 21:09:15
2 Luis Alberto Hernando 21:57:17
3 David Laney 21:59:42


1 Nathalie Mauclair 25:15:33
2 Uxue Fraile Azpeitia 26:29:35
3 Denise Zimmerman 27:33:52


All images are copyright – Ian Campbell Photography 




DSC_7195Zach Miller from America won the CCC 100km race in Chamonix this past weekend in a time of 11:53:32. Ruth Charlotte Croft totally destroyed the women’s field and all but seven of the men coming eighth overall covering this tough and demanding 6,000m ascent course from Courmayeur in Italy and all the way to Chamonix in a very impressive 12:54:53.

Second on the men’s podium was fellow American Tim Tollefson thirteen minutes behind and taking third spot was France’s Nicolas Martin a further ten minutes later.

American Magdalena Boulet took second place in a time of 14:02:47 over an hour later such was the dominating performance of Croft. Third and final place was for Spain and Laia Canes a further 42 minutes from Boulet.

1 Zach Miller 11:53:32
2 Tim Tollefson 12:06:56
3 Nicolas Martin 12:16:47


1 Ruth Charlotte Croft 12:54:53
2 Magdalena Boulet 14:02:47
3 Laia Canes 14:43:07




The Mont Blanc massif

The Mont Blanc massif

The organisers of the world famous Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) today announced that pre-registration for the series of races taking place at the end of August 2015 will commence this Wednesday.  If you have the points and want to experience one of the worlds unique ultra distance events then make sure you pre register for your chance to be drawn from the lottery. Good luck!!!

Or how to experience a fabulous adventure through 5 ultra-endurance events around Mont-Blanc !

UTMB® [Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®] : 3 countries – 170km and 10,000m ascent in semi-autonomy 2,300 runners at the start on Friday August 28th at 17:30 from Chamonix to Chamonix in 46hrs max .

CCC® [Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix] : 3 countries – 100km and 6,000m ascent in semi-autonomy 1,900 runners at the start on Friday August 28th at 09:00 from Courmayeur to Chamonix in 26 1/2 hrs max.

TDS® [sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie] : 119 km and 7,250m ascent in semi-autonomy
1,600 runners at the start on Wednesday August 26th at 07:00 from Courmayeur to Chamonix in 33hrs max .

PTL® [la Petite Trotte à Léon] : 3 countries – around 300km and 26,000m ascent in complete autonomy.  A non-stop event without ranking open to 100 teams (250 runners max).
Starts Monday August 24th at 17:30 from Chamonix to Chamonix in 142hrs max.

OCC [Orsières-Champex-Chamonix] : 53 km and 3,300m ascent in semi-autonomy
1,200 runners at the start on Thursday August 27th at 08:00 from Orsières to Chamonix in 14 hrs max.


Registration December 17th : 10:00 for the 5 events of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®
August 24th to 30th 2015

The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® races take place along paths around Mont-Blanc which are sometimes no more than a simple trace. For reasons of security, respect of the environment and quality (respect for the runners themselves who do not want to find themselves in queues) it is necessary to limit the number of runners at the start. Since 2007, faced with an influx of requests for registration, the organisation has set up a method of selection, which is as fair as possible. There is no waiting list. Registrations are managed by overbooking in anticipation of cancellations. Therefore, all runners have the same time in which to prepare themselves.

Registration is uniquely via : http://www.ultratrailmb.com

Dates for preregistration
The period of pre-registration will be open from December 17th 2014 until January 6th 2015 during which time candidates must fill out a complete entry form, including qualifying races, for the race of their choice. This form will be validated with a payment of a 50€ deposit to be made by credit card (secure on-line payment). After a draw, the runners chosen will finalise their registration and complete their payment. Runners who are not selected will automatically have their 50€ reimbursed.

Draw : If a draw is necessary, the results will be published on January 14th 2015 at 10:00 (Paris time).

Qualifying races:
Registration for all races is not possible unless runners have finished their qualifying races between January 1st 2013 and December 31st 2014.
You may consult the list on the web-site by clicking here.

UTMB® : 8 points acquired between 01/01/2013 and 31/12/2014 (in a maximum of 3 races)
CCC® : 3 points acquired between 01/01/2013 and 31/12/2014
TDS® : 3 points acquired between 01/01/2013 and 31/12/2014
OCC : no points necessary

Points from the 2012 UTMB®, CCC® and TDS® are also valid.
Important note: the increase of the number of points required (from 7 to 8 for the UTMB®, from 2 to 3 for the CCC® and TDS®) is a transitory measure. The organisation envisages, as from 2017 registration, setting up qualification criteria including the necessity of a minimum of experience in mountain environments. More comprehensive information will be available as from February 2015.

PTL® Special: A PTL® team of 2 or 3 persons must, obligatorily, have at least 1 finisher from a previous UTMB®, PTL® or Tor des Géants®.

The team leader (who is obligatorily the UTMB®, PTL® or Tor des Géants® finisher) registers for all his team at the same time.
Registration will be open from December 17th and will stay open until the event is full.

Race tariffs:
UTMB® : 214 €
CCC® : 133 €
TDS® : 147 €
OCC : 71 €
PTL® : 670 €




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. 


The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc – TheTDS is a 119km race starting in Courmayeur and going clockwise back to Chamonix with 7,250m of vert.   This year the story was all about Xavier Thevenard, he is the only person to have claimed wins at CCC, UTMB and now TDS.


The podium spots for the men and women’s race are below:

TDS Men Name Time
1st Xavier Thevenard 14:10:37
2nd Samir Tamang 14:45:33
3rd Jordi Bes 14:47:47


TDS Women Name Time
1st Teresa Nimes Perez 18:41:12
2nd Lisa Borzani 19:40:54
3rd Nerea Martinez Urruzola 20:48:35




The inaugural running of The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc OCC race saw Nicholas Martin and Sonia Glarey become the first winners of this 53km race from Orsieres to Chamonix covering 3,300m of vert.


The final podium places for the men and women’s race was :

OCC Men Name Time
1st Nicholas Martin 5:07:45
2nd Regis Durand 5:23:59
3rd Marc Pinsach Rubilora 5:25:50


OCC Women Name Time
1st Sonia Glarey 6:37:40
2nd Sandrine MotoRos 6:57:59
3rd Stephanie Mattei 7:03:05




All images are copyright – Ian Campbell – Photography


Its Thursday August 28th and the weather in Chamonix is improving just in time for the big dance, The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.


Runners from all nations around the world are gathering for kit checks and collecting their bibs. Its an exciting time and you can feel the buzz of nervous energy all over the town.

Image are copyright – Ian Campbell – Photography


Xavier Thevenard won the 2014 The North Face TDS tonight.


He had a comfortable lead of 30 mins and cruised into Chamonix with the crowds either side cheering him as he walked the last few steps to the finish line.  Unofficial time 14:12.  That makes Thevenard the only person to have won CCC , UTMB and TDS.  What an incredible accomplishment.

All images copyright – Ian Campbell – Photography