Tobias Mews
Tobias Mews | I’m running the 2013 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
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I’m running the 2013 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc

I’m running the 2013 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc

utmb-logoI’m not sure what kind of person enters a single stage 103 mile mountain race that has close to 10,000m of ascent – but whoever you are, you’ve got to have a bit of a screw loose.  And my screws must be rattling about the place at the moment!

For anyone not aware, the UTMB as it’s more commonly known, is the pinnacle of mountain running in Europe.  It attracts the biggest names in the ultra marathon world, such as Kilian Jornet, Lizzy Hawker, Scott Jurek, Vincent Delaberre, Jezz Bragg, Marco Olmo, Julien Chorier – all looking to be crowned Kings and Queens of this prestigious race!

To get a place on this race involves collecting points like you would at Sainsbury’s!  Except, in order to earn these points, you need to complete in other gruelling ultra marathons that collectively will give you 7 points!  I used the following races to qualify:

  • 2011 – Marathon des Sables, 250kms (3 Points)
  • 2012 – The Jungle Ultra (230kms) (4 Points)

However, I’ve also got several more point qualifying races up my sleeve:

  • 2013 Marathon des Sables, 230kms (3 Points)
  • 2012 Kilian Classic, 45km (1 Point)
  • 2013 Race to the Stones, 100km (2 Points) – to be completed July 13 2013

The Map of the UTMB showing the 3 countries we pass through as well as the checkpoints.

A lot of people spend several years collecting the points needed to apply for this race, with no guarantee that they will get through the ballot.  Because the ballot is a lottery system and even though there are 2500 places, they’ll be several thousand disappointed souls who didn’t get an entry.

Another interesting fact about this race is that a high proportion of the entrants won’t finish.  With a cut off of 45 hrs, there are a good thousand who won’t make it!

So I’ve got some work to do over the next few months in order to get my legs up to speed.  I chose to enter this race because it is a bit of a once in a life time opportunity and it will only take up a weekend of my life.  Whereas, some of the other multi-day races take up weeks!


Tobias Mews

Adventure Sports Journalist, Filmmaker and Athlete