UTMB® Mont-Blanc: 30 days to go for the start of the 18th edition!
Good news, the UTMB® Mont-Blanc will take place this year. The event is scheduled to run from Monday 23rd to Sunday 29th August and will gather 10,000 runners with strict health measures in place. The sanitary health pass, staggered starts, elite runners, here is everything you need to know about the upcoming edition.
The health pass for all: the safe choice
With 10,000 runners representing 92 nationalities spread over 7 races, the organisers have prioritised putting health measures in place: all participants on the event will need to provide a health pass. Runners, volunteers, journalists, partners, service providers and VIPs will all have to present a valid health pass to access the event. Note proof of a valid health pass will be required in the form of one of the following:
- Certificate of full vaccination (2nd dose included)
- Recent negative PCR or antigenic test (within under 48 hours)
- Certificate of recovery from Covid 19
The health pass will be checked when the runners receive their race bibs and when all other stakeholders receive their pass or accreditation granting access to the event.
The organisers have put in place a whole transportation system that will provide access to the start of the various races. All using the transport system will be required to wear a face mask. Reservations for the shuttle bus have been open since the 8th of July and can be booked via the runner's area.
The organisers have chosen to space out the starts and finishes of the races to limit crowding for the runners. The starts will be organised in three waves spaced 30 minutes apart for the TDS®, the OCC, the CCC® and the UTMB®. The start of the MCC will go off in two waves. Runners will be informed of their starting wave in August depending on their Performance Index. Please note that the start of the UTMB® is postponed to 5pm and that runners will first have to join their starting area at the Savoy field before starting under the arch at the Triangle de l'Amitié square. The straight line at the start will be closed to the public and reserved for the organisers.
For the races with starts from Courmayeur, there will be a new starting area place. The TDS® (which will take place Tuesday 24 this year at 3pm), the YCC and the CCC® will all start from the Courmayeur Sport Center gymnasium. Face masks will be compulsory at the start and for the first five hundred metres of the race. Self service will be replaced in favour of volunteers providing the refreshments at food stations. The finishes will also be subject to a strict safety protocol with runners limited to no more than 15 minutes at the finish. Here again, a face mask must be worn.
An star line-up and the return of the great champions
With the he world's top 10 on competing on the UTMB®, the race is set to be very competitive. On the men's front, the line-up is impressive with over 81 runners with elite status. The American Jim Walmsley, the Frenchmen François D'Haene and Xavier Thévenard are the favourites... on paper. Tim Tollefson, who finished 3rd in the UTMB® in 2016 and 2017 and who will be keen to succeed in his race after two failures in 2018 and 2019, will also be in the running:
"After two difficult failures and a worldwide pandemic, I am more impatient than ever to come full circle. I'm returning to the valley with a rekindled flame and an even stronger awareness of how lucky I am to be racing here," commented the American runner.
There could be surprises and Dimitry Mityaev from Russia and the Pablo Villa from Spain, are among the ones to watch who could do well. There will be some surprises as there is little to compare with for many of the favourites who did not have a full racing season in 2020.
In the women's race, Beth Pascall and Courtney Dauwalter are the favourites, but the Americans Katie Schide and Kaytlyn Gerbin, the French Audrey Tanguy and Camille Bruyas, the Swedish Mimmi Kokta and the Dutch Ragna Debats, who put in a very good performance in the Western States® 100-Mile Endurance Run for her first participation, are also be in the mix:
"We all missed racing so much and the fact that UTMB® will be able to take place this year feels like an important symbolic thing in our community. It will be different due to restrictions but the mountains are the same as always. To me, UTMB® is a personal journey, I want to be able to feel like I have done myself justice in this race. This has nothing to do with times or positions but is about the feeling inside, you know it in your heart," commented Mimmi Kokta.
In all, there are more than 170 elite athletes registered for the event, making the UTMB® Mont-Blanc the most popular gathering of the season.
On the CCC®, Luis Alberto Hernando will defend his title against Stian Angermund who will try his hand at the distance and who already won the OCC in 2019, or the American Jared Hazen who is among the best runners on the other side of the Atlantic and who trains with none other than Jim Walsmley. In the women's race, Ruth Croft seems untouchable this season after her victory in New Zealand, then in the Ultra-Trail Australia and her second place in California last month:
"After taking a three-week break after the Western States ® 100-Mile Endurance Run, I'm starting to train again for the CCC®. The first week back in training is not always pleasant but it will only get better from here. The Chamonix trails have always treated me well in the past and after a year away I'm happy to be back," she says.
She will still have to compete with over 20 athletes with elite status including Megan McKenzie, Emily Schmitz and Yiou Wang. It should be noted that the CCC® record is held by Chinese athlete Miao Yao standing at 11:57 during her exceptional performance in 2018.
Looking at the favourites in the other races:
Page Holly - United Kingdom
Valmassoi Martina - Italy
Mityaeva Ekaterina - Russia
Mayfield Camelia - USA
Bosio Rory - USA
Turini Giuditta - Italy
Rai Mira - Nepal
Bohard Manon - France
Edwards Meredith - USA
Blanchet Juliette - France
Evans Thomas - United Kingdom
Krar Rob - USA
Fernández Fernández Borja - Spain
Clemente Mora Cristofer - Spain
Wästlund Simen Hjalmar - Sweden
Castaner Bernat Tofol - Spain
Jung Daniel - Italy
Airiau Gautier - France
Rueda Santos Gabriel - Argentina
Ramos González Marcos - Spain
L'hirondel Blandine - France
Yao Miao - China
Avilés Castaño Sheila - Spain
Desco Elisa - Italy
Carrion Gisela - Spain
Lu Yangchun - China
Sagnes Mathilde - France
Bleasdale Julia - Germany
Fielder Caitlin - New Zealand
Comet Anna - Spain
Hawks Hayden - USA
Elazzaoui Elhousine - Morocco
Cardona Coll Oriol - Spain
Albon Jonathan - United Kingdom
Bonnet Remi - Switzerland
Simpson Robbie - United Kingdom
Ueda Ruy - Japan
Egli Pascal - Switzerland
Engdahl Petter - Sweden
Wenk Stephan - Switzerland
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