The sun is shining again, just in time for one of the biggest events of summer – the Marathon du Mont Blanc.
The event comprises 6 races; 23km half-marathon, 42km full marathon, 80km ultra marathon, 10km cross-country run, vertical kilometre, and not forgetting the mini-cross 3km race for the trail runners of the future. Almost 6000 runners will be taking part, with many more people turning up to cheer and offer support.
The 80km race has already set off and is underway right now, with the front runners having already covered about 40km and are now charging their way over the Swiss border past the Emosson Dam to Catogne.
The schedule for the weekend is as follows:
- 80km du Mont Blanc – 82km, 6000m vertical
Starts 4am Friday 24th June
- Vertical KM – 3.8km, 1000m vertical
Starts 2pm Friday 24th June
- Cross du Mont Blanc – 23km, 1665m vertical
Starts 8am Saturday 25th June
- Mini Cross du Mont Blanc – up to 3km
Starts 10am Saturday 25th June
- 10km du Mont Blanc – 10km, 325m vertical
Starts 1pm Saturday 25th June
- Marathon du Mont Blanc – 42km, 2730m vertical
Starts 7am Sunday 26th June
You can follow the progress of all runners on the Live Trail website.
The races loop round the Chamonix valley, taking in some of the most beautiful sights and stunning hiking trails in the region. With a Mont Blanc Multipass you can take the Telecabine du Vallorcine and hike across the Col des Posettes to see the marathon runners set off to reach the highest point of the course at the pinnacle of the Aiguillette des Posettes at 2201m; you can take the Aiguille du Midi cable car up to Plan de l’Aiguille to cheer as the 80km runners descend back down to Chamonix via the Alpages des Blaitieres; you can hop on the Flegere cable car to encourage the 23km and 42km runners as they reach the last checkpoint before the finish line.
All these areas offer spectacular views and are easily accessible from the Chamonix valley lift stations, they are also the starting point for some excellent hiking routes such as Lac Blanc from Flegere, Mer de Glace from Plan de l’Aiguille and Refuge Albert 1er from Vallorcine.
The finish line for the 3 longest races is up at Planpraz du Brevent, yes, that’s right, at over 2000m. Runners have the honour of a free ride back down to Chamonix on the bubble lift but everyone else, spectators included, will need a lift pass to get there and back.
If the races have taken their toll on your legs, you might be glad of a good rub-down to get them back in tip-top shape. We strongly recommend that you book this in advance, as every masseur and physiotherapist in the valley is going be in high demand this week! Whether it’s a soothing relaxation treatment or a thorough pummelling that you’re looking for, contact us now to see what we have available.
As well as hiking, there are plenty of other summer activities in Chamonix to sample while you’re out here. Mountain biking trails at Le Tour and Les Houches are suitable for all levels and access is included in your Mont Blanc Multipass. A mountain biking guide will show you the best routes and give you tips on handling the descents, twists and turns with confidence. Warm sunny weather is perfect for rock climbing, there are dozens of crags throughout the valley with hundreds of different routes to explore. To view the valley from above, it doesn’t get better than a parapente flight – you take off from Planpraz du Brevent with a tandem pilot, launch yourself off the side of the mountain and float back down to earth, swirling and swooping on the thermals as you soar amongst the peaks. If the hot weather continues then rafting, hydrospeed and canyoning are all fantastic ways to cool down and so much fun – for the ultimate adrenaline rush you can ride the fierce rapids of the Dora Balthea on a day trip through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy.
The Marathon du Mont Blanc marks the start of the summer sports season and there are many more events lined up for runners, cyclists and triathletes to get their teeth into – you’ll find the main Chamonix events here.
Best of luck to everyone taking part in the Marathon du Mont Blanc races over the next few days, we’ll be cheering for you!