Marathon du Mont Blanc – Chamonix Trail Running

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.

Marathon du Mont Blanc Chamonix

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.

Marathon du Mont Blanc Chamonix

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.

Marathon du Mont Blanc Chamonix

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.

Marathon du Mont Blanc Chamonix

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.

Hiking in Chamonix

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.

Chamonix canyoning

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!

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Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc 2016 – who’s in?!

It might have been dumping with snow in Chamonix all week but some of us are already planning our summer of adventure! Results have gone on line this week to confirm all those who have successfully subscribed to take part in the 2016 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, taking place next August.

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix
Photo credit : Franck Oddoux

The UTMB is one of the valley’s biggest events and we’re super excited to have some of the Mountain Lifestyle team taking part. The week comprises 5 different races – UTMB, PTL, TDS, CCC, OCC – all ultra-marathon trail races taking place at high altitude in the shadow of the mighty Mont Blanc.

  • UTMB – Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc – 170km distance & 10,000m elevation
  • PTL – Petit Trot de Lyon – 290km distance & 26500m elevation
  • TDS – Trail des Ducs de Savoie – 119km distance & 7250m elevation
  • CCC – Courmayeur Champex Chamonix – 100km distance & 6100m elevation
  • OCC – Orsieres Champex Chamonix – 55km distance & 3300m elevation

This is such an exciting time of year to be in Chamonix, with an amazing buzz in the air and people from all over the world gathering to take part or to cheer for their friends and family.

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix
Photo credit : Michel Cottin

You can get a taste for the UTMB by heading to Chamonix this spring or summer to take part in one of our trail running camps – a week or long weekend of pounding the alpine trails with an expert trail running coach. You’ll benefit not only from training at altitude but you’ll also receive invaluable advice on training strategies, learn how to fly down technical descents, conserve energy on steep climbs and manage your nutrition. If you book during June then you’ll have the chance to see the Marathon du Mont Blanc take place, another fantastic event when the whole town turns out to cheer and get involved. Here in Chamonix you’ll meet many people who have taken part in all of the UTMB races and can share their experiences with you, this town loves to talk running!

If you don’t have a full week to spare then get an insight into what’s needed to complete one of the world’s most iconic races with a 2 day UTMB recce in which you’ll complete either the first or the second half of the route, accompanied by a running guide. You’ll run 80km through the day and night with around 5000m of positive elevation gain on high altitude trails. An incredible experience and invaluable preparation if you’re planning on running the real thing one day – contact us now for further details.

Marathon du Mont Blanc in Chamonix

We also offer one-to-one running and fitness sessions with a personal coach – so whether your goal is to complete your first marathon, to smash a personal best, or just to have some fun in the mountains, we can help you achieve and even exceed it!

For the ultimate trail running experience, contact us for a bespoke training camp including nutritious gourmet meals, daily massages, expert advice on sports “pre-habilitation” and recovery from professional physiotherapists and guided runs in the mountains with tips and advice. We can cater for any group sizes and are happy to discuss a variety of options to create an itinerary that meets your needs. We are fortunate enough to live in the perfect environment for outdoor training of all kinds that can include road biking and lake swimming for budding triathletes!

If you’ve not already checked, you can find out if you were lucky enough to get a place in one of the  UTMB races on the official Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc website – just enter your surname in the search box to find the results.

Congratulations if you were successful! UTMB week is one of the busiest of the year, so be sure to book your accommodation in Chamonix before it all books up. We can also help with essentials such as airport transfers and pre or post race massages and physiotherapy – just ask us and we’d be happy to help.

World’s Toughest Triathlon Comes to Chamonix with Evergreen Endurance

This weekend see the first of what will hopefully become an annual event – the Evergreen Endurance Triathlon; Chamonix’s first iron-distance competition, boldly billed as “the world’s toughest, most beautiful and most environmentally responsible iron-distance event”!

Chamonix triathlon swim
Photo Credit : Evergreen Endurance

The action starts tomorrow, Saturday 12th September, at 6:30am as the sun comes up over Lac Montriond in Morzine. The athletes will plunge straight into a 4 hour swim, completing two laps of the lake with an Australian exit in between before leaping on to their bikes for a 181km ride across the many climbs of the Savoie and Haute Savoie roads.

Chamonix triathlon, bike ride
Photo Credit : Evergreen Endurance

The bike ride will take them from Montriond to Chamonix via Morzine, Marignier, Le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz, Col des Aravis, Megeve and Domancy. As if 181km isn’t far enough they will also climb a total of almost 4500m on steep mountain roads.

Chamonix triathlon, trail run
Photo Credit : Evergreen Endurance

Once they’ve completed their transition in the centre of Chamonix, they’ll head off into the mountains to run a full 43km marathon by doing two loops of the Grand Balcon Nord. From Chamonix centre they’ll climb up to the Forbes Signal (alt 2188) at Montenvers, traverse across to the Plan de l’Aiguille (alt 2205), then charge down the steep descent past the Cascade du Dard to Chamonix.

If you want to see the action and cheer the athletes as they run past, the best spectator points once they reach Chamonix will be at:

Chamonix webcam imagePlace de l’Eglise: the square in front of the tourist office in Chamonix centre is where the second transition will take place, competitors will be tearing off their bike gear and grabbing whatever they need for the run before dashing off again through town – should be very exciting!

Mer de Glace ChamonixMer de Glace: the steep climb up to the Forbes Signal will pass by the Mer de Glace, via the Buvette du Caillet – hop on the Montenvers train to get a great view of them charging past! The Montenvers train is included in your Mont Blanc Multipass.

hiking-aiguille-chamonix-donkey-01

Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille: this charming old mountain hut sits just below the Plan de l’Aiguille lift station, on the Grand Balcon Nord hiking route. Grab a coffee and a slice of myrtille tart as you wait for the runners to come through. You’ll probably have time to take the second stage of the Aiguille du Midi cable car up to the viewing platforms at the summit and even Step Into the Void, in between the first and second laps. The Aiguille du Midi cable car is included in your Mont Blanc Multipass.

Cascade du Dard waterfall and hiking trail in ChamonixCascade du Dard: one of Chamonix’s hidden gems, this beautiful waterfall is on one of the less frequented hiking routes and is completely secluded in the forest until you get right up to it. There is a lovely little chalet serving local dishes and homemade cakes, so you can hike up and enjoy a nice lunch while you cheer the runners down the descent. Please note that the hiking path is very narrow, so make sure that you look out for runners and give them right of way!

Chamonix in summerChamonix Centre: the two-lap course ensures that the athletes will be passing through Chamonix at least once before finally crossing the finish line in the centre of town – no matter where you are, you’re sure to see some of the action!

If you have friends or family who are competing in the Evergreen Endurance Triathlon, you can follow them online here – best of luck to everyone taking part!

Marathon du Mont Blanc : Chamonix Trail Running

One of the sporting highlights of the Chamonix summer season takes place this weekend – the Marathon du Mont Blanc.

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixThe event comprises 5 main races; the Vertical KM, the 10KM, the Cross du Mont Blanc Half Marathon, the Marathon du Mont Blanc and the 80KM du Mont Blanc, as well as a handful of “mini-marathons” for children.

Hiking in ChamonixThe classic is the Marathon du Mont Blanc; 42km covering 2760m of positive elevation gain and 2 big climbs up and over the Aiguillette des Posettes at 2201m, then dropping back down to the valley floor only to scramble back up again to the finish line at Plan Praz 2016m.

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixYou may wonder who on earth would voluntarily choose to put themselves through this? Well, funnily enough, all of the races are filling up faster and faster each year with tens of thousands of people desperate to take part – only 2000 are lucky enough to gain a place in the marathon, with 1500 running in the Cross and 1000 in the 80km.

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixI hesitate to call them “races” as for most people they’re not so much about what ranking you get as to how much you relish the whole experience. From joining your fellow runners at the start line as the sun comes up over the mountains, to slogging up steep alpine trails, traversing high altitude ridges, trying not to trip as you gawp open-mouthed at the stunning view, channeling your inner mountain goat as you bound down technical descents, scarfing cheese and chocolate at the fueling stations, being cheered on by weathered old farmers as you charge through their cow pastures… it’s about a lot more than “what time did you get?”.

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixOnce you’ve crossed the finish line and got that medal round your neck you may find yourself in need of a little TLC – perhaps a soak in a hot tub, or a relaxing leg massage, maybe even a physio session with a sports fitness specialist? Book your treatment in advance to be sure of availability, those masseurs are going to be very busy over the next few days!

Canyoning in ChamonixIf you’ve decided to make a holiday of it and stay in Chamonix beyond the weekend then take a look at our summer activities to see what you can do while you are here – you can check out the marathon route from above with a parapente flight over the valley, or stretch out those stiff legs with a spot of rock climbing. If you’ve come with the family there are plenty of children’s activities that everyone can enjoy.

marathon-06We’ll be cheering on four of our team members this weekend, as Sophie from Mountain Lifestyle and Meg from Mountain Base are both entered in the marathon, while Sonya and Cherie from Mountain Lifestyle will be running in the Cross. Whichever challenge you’re taking on this weekend, we wish you the best of luck and we’ll see you at the finish line!