Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (France)

November 1, 2009

ultra-trail-du-montblancJapan Triathlon is usually focused on providing you information on races located in Japan, however, this time, we would like to introduce you a race of its kind: The “Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc“. This event was covered by NHK last October 31st 2009 to follow Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, a  world-class mountain race runner.

Covering a total of 3 countries (that in itself can give you an idea of how long this race), this race is also referred as UTMB. It is a mountain ultra-marathon race which takes place once a year in the Alps and crosses France, Italy and Switzerland. Its course goes around the Mont Blanc and is also called the “Tour du Mont Blanc”. The distance varies each year between 150 and 160 km, with a total elevation gain of around 8500m. Some believe that it is the most difficult foot race in Europe.

While the best trail runners manage to complete the loop in slightly more than 20 hours, most runners take between 30 to 45 hours to reach the finish line.

The route follows basically the Tour du Mont Blanc hiking Path, that is usually completed in 7 to 9 days by hikers.


Starting from Chamonix (1035m), the trail goes up to the Col de Voza (1653m) to reach Les Contamines (1150m). It then climbs to the Croix du Bonhomme (2479m) before going back down to Les Chapieux (1549m). The path then runs up to the Col de la Seigne (2516m) to enter Italy, follows the ridge of the Mont-Favre (2435m) before going down to Courmayeur (1190m). From that point, the course will climb again to the Refuge Bertone (1989m) and Arnuva (1769m) before reaching its highest point, the Grand Col Ferret (2537m), which also marks the border with Switzerland. The path goes down again to Praz de Fort (1151m) via La Fouly (1593m) before reaching the third life base, Champex d’en Bas (1391m). The final stretch includes two rather low cols: Bovine (1987m) and Les Tseppes (1932m) separated by Trient (1300m). On the way down to Vallorcine (1260m), the trail enters back into France and goes through Argentière (1260m) before finishing at Chamonix where the race started.


The “best” Video Clip we could find on the race

Informative video on the race

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki

For this year’s event, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki from Japan managed an impressive performance and ranked 3rd out of over 4000 participants.


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