Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc – just around the corner
http://utmb.livetrail.net to follow my progress during the race. Search for runner number 4797 or Mews
I’ve been thinking about doing the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) since I first heard about it 5 years ago, at the genesis of my ultra running career. It’s one of those races that sits firmly at the top of the bucket list, with a ‘one day’ written in parenthesis. It’s also one of those races that you don’t/shouldn’t want to attempt unless you’ve done a serious amount of training.
Well, I’ve been training for about 2 months – which is quite a bit shy of what they recommend. However, at the beginning of the August Zee and I did a recce for the route over 5 days, which gave me a decent idea of what was in store. Hell, was the answer!
I’ve spent today packing my kit, trying to decide between one shirt and another, whether I should take my Petzl Nao or LED Lenser H7 head torches – or both! I did a last minute cycle over to Cotswold Outdoor in Wandsworth to look at base layers, coming away with nothing. I’ve fretted, thought, dreamt and pondered my way through what I’ll need for the race and how I’ll tackle it. In the end, I’ve decided my main effort is to finish before midnight on the Saturday. The rest is superficial!
Over the years, the weather has played a crucial part in this race. Last year, in 2012, for the second time in as many years, they had to shorten the course. Having just looked at the weather forecast, things are looking hopeful. However, having recently taken purchase of a Haglofs Gram Pull Gore-Tex jacket, I’m rather confident that I’ll be in good shape should it piss down.
Having spent many a moment thinking about what kit to take, much of what’s on my kit list is stuff that I’ve used to extremes – MDS, Race to the Stones, etc. It’s tried and tested, so no surprises (hopefully).
- Shoes – Salomon Speedcross 3 – ran the recce in these shoes – they’re brilliant.
- Socks – Compressport socks
- Top – Compressport Trail T-Shirt
- Shorts – Salomon S-Lab Exo shorts
- Poles – Leki Traveller Carbon poles
- Bag – Salomon 10+3 vest
- Watch – Suunto Ambit
- Glasses – Adidas Eyewear Evil Eye
- Craft Norseman hat
- Helly Hansen baselayer
- Salomon Windproof Light Jacket
- North Face Apex waterproof gloves
- Raidlight 15cl cup
- Two Powerade 500ml bottles (the ones you buy from petrol stations)
- Haglofs Gram Comp Pull Gore-Tex Jacket
- Haglofs Gram Pull waterproof pants
Fingers crossed everything will go according to plan, because at the moment as I glug on my glass of wine, I’ve not got a massive warm fuzzy feeling. But then again, I don’t think I’ve ever felt a warm fuzzy feeling before a race!
Keep an eye out for updates on the UTMB website to see how I’m getting on. The race starts at 16.30 French time (3.30 UK time). Wish me luck.
I’ll be writing about the race for the Telegraph in September, so keep an eye out for updates on when that will be.