Chamonix, France (August 29, 2018) — The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), the world’s most anticipated and prestigious trail running summit, is preparing for the start of another thrilling and brutal trail race August 27th - September 2nd. The seven different races featured at the 2018 event are expected to attract 10,000 racers from over 100 countries.
The UTMB is easily the world’s most anticipated ultra marathon with a live audience of more than 40,000 spectators and 10,000 participants. This year, more than 22,000 runners apply for a chance to participate in one of the UTMB races, but entry is limited to qualifying athletes and a lottery system for all other runners.
The upcoming 170KM UTMB features more top ranked American athletes than ever before; Jim Walmsley, Hayden Hawks, Zach Miller, and Tim Tollefson are ranked among the top ten competitors going into this year’s race. Walmsley, currently ranked #1 overall in the world, will be competing against Kílian Jornet, #2-ranked in the world, and a three-time winner of the UTMB. After setting a course record at the Western States 100 earlier this summer, Walmsley is eager to be the first American male to win the UTMB. The United States has an equally strong showing among top-ranked female athletes with Clare Gallagher, Kaci Lickteig, and Magdalena Boulet all competing for the UTMB podium.
The UTMB began in the early 2000s when a group of nine friends in Chamonix dreamt of running the Tour of Mont-Blanc, unheard of at the time. At 106 miles and over 32,000 feet of elevation gain, this trail would become home to one of the most difficult races in the world: the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). The inaugural UTMB in 2003 attracted 711 trail runners from 19 countries, and had a 90% drop-out rate with just 67 runners crossing the finish line. By 2006 the amount of participants had more than quadrupled and the race had gained worldwide recognition.
In addition to the legendary UTMB, six other high profile endurance races are offered during the week long summit:
● Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) - an open country 122 km race that crosses the Mont-Blanc, Beaufort, Tarentaise and Aosta valley countryside.
● Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix (CCC) - known as the “little sister of the UTMB” the 101 km race follows the Grande Randonnée du Tour du Mont-Blanc
● Orsières - Champex - Chamonix (OCC) - a medium distance 56 km race that covers the Swiss Valais region
● Martigny - Combe - Chamonix (MCC) - a medium distance 40km race designed to encourage participation among volunteers and local communities
● Youth Chamonix - Courmayeur (YCC) - organized with the help of the UCPA (Union des Centres Sportifs de Plein Air) this 15km race is for athletes age 16-22
● Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) - unlike all of the other races the PTL is a self-supported non-competitive race where teams of 2-3 participants follow an unmarked course. The 300 km course involves travel through rugged terrain and it is a multi-day effort
These races will also feature several top American runners including Rory Bosio (2013 & 2014 female winner of the UTMB), Yiou Wang, Tim Freriks, Dylan Bowman, and Rob Krar.
As international support for the UTMB continues to grow at a steady pace, race organizers desire to bring the brand across the globe. Countries where the sport of trail running is still blossoming have sought the assistance of UTMB International to create localized races. The first edition of Gaoligong by UTMB® took place earlier this year in China and Oman by UTMB® is set to take place in November 2018.
You can follow live coverage of the events at: https://utmbmontblanc.com/en/live
UTMB® (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc):
171 km & 10,000 m of vertical gain - 2300 runners - Starts on Friday at 18:00 in Chamonix - 46:30 hours max
TDS® (Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie):
122 km & 7300 m of vertical gain - 1600 runners - Starts on Wednesday at 06:00 in Courmayeur - 33 hours max
CCC® (Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix):
101 km & 6100 m of vertical gain - 1900 runners - Starts on Friday at 09:00 in Courmayeur - 26:30 hours max
OCC (Orsières - Champex - Chamonix):
56 km & 3500 m of vertical gain - 1200 runners - Starts on Thursday at 08:15 in Orsières - 14:30 hours max
MCC (Martigny - Combe - Chamonix):
40km & 2300 m of vertical gain - 1000 runners - Starts on Monday at 10:00 in Martigny-Combe - 10 hours max
YCC (Youth Chamonix - Courmayeur):
15km & 1200 m of vertical gain - 300 runners - Starts on Wednesday at 10:00 in Courmayeur - 4 hours max
PTL® (Petite Trotte à Léon):
approximately 300 km & 25000 m of vertical gain - A non-stop effort for 300 runners - Starts on Monday at 08:00 in Chamonix - 151:30 hours max
About UTMB International
UTMB International is an organization that was created to help spread UTMB’s influence worldwide. Over the next ten years the organization plans to work with international partners to establish major events on every continent. The goal is to organize summits embracing local traditions while maintaining the professional standards of the original UTMB. Each event will take place in a mountainous region and will feature multiple formats to attract athletes of all abilities.
UTMB International media contact
Chris Rodrigo / +33 (0) 607 226 233