Columbia presents UTMB® Stories - SUPPORT CREW

Support crew: in the shadows of the UTMB®

As the gun goes off and the athletes take the limelight on one of the biggest trail running stages of the year, their support crews – often their wives or partners – begin a marathon of their own in the shadows.

Discreetly and diligently they cover the entire race, bringing food, equipment and comfort to five different checkpoints spread across the 170km of the gruelling course. We follow Helen, Maya and Aurélie, the wives of Eoin Keith, Diego Pazos and Seb Camus respectively, as they race around offstage – and experience the UTMB® just as intensely as the runners themselves.
The UTMB® rules are exceptional when it comes to support crews. Particularly strict, they are designed to prevent the aid stations from becoming congested. “Only one person per runner is allowed to enter the support area, and all equipment and food must fit into a 30-litre rucksack, so as not to hinder the smooth running of the event”, details André Bozon, manager of the Vallorcine checkpoint.

“It’s pretty stressful, you never know exactly when he’s going to arrive”, explains Maya, “if he’s accelerated, he might be here earlier than expected! So I try to prepare a lot in the car beforehand, so that I can have everything laid out in five minutes. You have to be really structured, and know exactly what to do at each aid station.”