The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) is the biggest trail running race in the world. Every year, thousands of runners from across the world descend on the picturesque French town of Chamonix to begin the holy grail of ultra-distance running – a 104-mile race around Western Europe’s highest peak that includes a monstrous 10,000m of elevation gain.
The race starts at 6pm (Chamonix time) on Friday August 26 and we will providing live updates throughout here as well as on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. If you’re in Chamonix now, visit the expo and check out the latest inov-8 trail running shoes, including the TrailTalon 275 & 250, at booth number 16, manned by our French distributors.
Updates: Sunday August 28th
104 miles. 10,000m ascent. 32 hours of smiles
10am: Good morning! In the early hours, the inspirational Nicky Spinks crossed the finish line in Chamonix to place 12th woman in this year’s UTMB in a time of 32hrs 32mins. Nicky wore our new TrailTalon 275 trail running shoes. Well done, Nicky. If you want to learn more about ultra running from 49-year-old Nicky, check out her blog post, How To Run Further Than You Thought Possible.
Updates: Saturday August 27th
Sixth woman at 2016 UTMB – Jasmin Paris
9:40pm: Jasmin Paris is across the finish line in Chamonix after running the closing stages amid a lightening storm. She placed 6th woman in a time of 28hrs 34mins in her first-ever 100-miler! Well done Jasmin, what a fantastic result. Jasmin ran in our TrailTalon 275 shoes. Above photo by @iRunFar.
“I’ll try to get her” says Jasmin Paris leaving Vallorcine, 152k, 2 minutes back from Boulet. pic.twitter.com/BvUaXKlwKJ
— iRunFar (@iRunFar) August 27, 2016
Jasmin’s on the charge!
8.10pm: inov-8 ambassador Jasmin Paris is on the charge and chasing down the 5th placed woman (Magda Boulet) as nears the end of her first-ever UTMB. Jasmin was only two minutes behind Magdda as they passed through 94 miles. 10 miles to go!
We have our winners
7:15pm: We now have both winners back in Chamonix. Caroline Chaverot (25:15:39) became the ladies champion, while earlier Ludovic Pommeret (21:59:58) dipped under 22 hours to take victory in the men’s race. We’ve also just had inov-8 ambassador Damian Hall cross the finish line in 19th place (see photo above) in 25:12:11, just ahead of the Caroline. Damian ran in our TrailTalon 275 shoes. A fantastic effort in your second UTMB, well done Damian.
Things are heating up!
12:40pm: The guys at the sharp end are now through 88 miles. Zach Miller leads from Gediminas Grinius and Ludovic Pommeret, but only one minute separates all three. This one’s up for grabs. Who wants it most? Jasmin Paris, meanwhile, remains 6th woman and earlier took the opportunity to cool down at La Fouly (68 miles) – see great photo above by @iRunFar.
Wish you were running here too?
11:00am: What about this for a view! If you’re running 104 mountain miles, you deserve morning views like this. We were up at Grand Col Ferret earlier to watch the UTMB runners through the 63-mile point. Jasmin Paris (now 6th woman) was in good spirits and running well. Jasmin is running our new TrailTalon 275 shoes.
It’s tough at the top
9.20am: Good morning. It’s been a tough night for some of the UTMB favourites and there’s been a host of big-name dropouts, including Luis Hernando, Miguel Heras and Ryan Sandes in men and Rory Bosio in the women. American Zach Miller led the men through the aid station at La Fouly, 110km (68 miles) into the race. Caroline Chaverot holds a strong lead in the women’s race. Jasmin Paris is currently placed 7th lady (photo above by @iRunFar). Nicky Spinks and Damian Hall are in the top-30 of the women’s and men’s races respectively. The sun is out again and it’s set to be another very hot day on the mountain trails.
Updates: Friday August 26th
Darkness falls as UTMB runners head into the night
11:45pm: At Col du Bonhomme, the 42km (26-mile) mark, Jasmin Paris has moved her way up again and is now placed 6th woman. She is 27 minutes behind the first woman, Caroline Chaverot. Photo by @iRunFar. Earlier at Les Contamines, it was all smiles for Nicky Spinks (see Tweet below):
— Joe Baxter (@JWHBaxter) August 26, 2016
Jasmin Paris in top-10 as race settles
— inov-8 (@inov_8) August 26, 2016
And they’re off – but was there a false start?
6pm: The race is underway (watch video above). However, we think there may have been a false start. Guy in the green shorts. Can we have them all back please for a restart?! Good luck to all over the next 104 miles.
The wait is almost over…..
5:35pm: Runners sit patiently, resting their legs, at the UTMB start line awaiting the 6pm off. Ahead of them is 104-mile of trail running heaven, or hell, depending on how it pans out!
T-minus 1 hour and it’s hot, very hot!
5pm: Runners are seeking shelter from blazing sun in Chamonix as they prepare for the UTMB grand depart. The atmosphere in the streets is building, with lots of music and entertainment (see Tweet below):
— inov-8 (@inov_8) August 26, 2016
The scene is set….
4pm: How about this for a backdrop to a race? The Aiguille du Midi (at 3,842m) stands just below the summit of Mont Blanc and towers high above the town of Chamonix, where UTMB runners are now gathering ahead of a 6pm start. Last minute tips anyone? The Ten Commandments of Ultra Running.
What kit do you need to carry for UTMB?
12:15pm: Less than 6 hours until the 2016 UTMB is go! Ultra runner Damian Hall sat down with us yesterday in Chamonix and explained what he’ll be carrying in his RaceUltra 5 pack at this year’s UTMB. Check out the video on our Facebook page. Read Damian’s pre-race blog post about why the UTMB should be on every runners bucket-list.
The big show’s in town – it’s UTMB race day
10am: It’s race day in Chamonix. The big show, the 2016 UTMB, kicks off at 5pm local time. Before then, some reflection on the past couple of days and congratulations to inov-8’s European Sales Manager, Tim Parkin, who yesterday raced the 32-mile OCC (Orsières – Champex – Chamonix) event. Tim completed the course, which includes around 3,300m of elevation gain, in 10 hours 25 minutes. He wore our TrailTalon 275 shoes.
The OCC is one of four events that, alongside the main event, are staged as part of the UTMB festival. The others are the 62-mile CCC (Courmayeur – Champex – Chamonix), the 73-mile TDS (Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie) and the 186-mile (approx) PTL (La Petite Trotte à Léon). In the TDS, Yeray Duran, who is supported by our Spanish distributors, took a superb second place (see finish line video below):
— Carrerasdemontanacom (@CarrerasMontana) August 24, 2016
Updates: Thursday August 25th
6:30pm Who’s your money on for 2016 UTMB success?
So, who are the favourites for this year’s UTMB? Have you been studying the form guide? If not, we recommend checking out this pre-race preview written by Ian Corless.
4pm: Jasmin and Nicky ready to race
inov-8 ambassadors Jasmin Paris (left) and Nicky Spinks (centre) called by the inov-8 booth after completing their final registrations for tomorrow’s UTMB. This will be Nicky’s second UTMB and comes on the back of her setting an incredible new record time for the 132-mile Double Bob Graham earlier this year the UK. Before heading out to The Alps, Nicky wrote the following blog, How To Run Further Than You Thought Possible. Jasmin, a winner at the recent Tromso Skyrace in Norway, has been tipped as a potential podium contender by some running journalists but played down her UTMB debut chances in her new blog post this week, Why It’s All Smiles On Trails & Mountains.
3pm: ‘Chamonix is full of skinny people right now’
inov-8 ambassador Damian Hall, who will compete in his second UTMB on Friday, sent us this update from Chamonix:
“I wasn’t even out of Geneva Airpot before I was talking UTMB with a fellow Brit. I was approached with the sentence, ‘You look like a runner…’ Which may simply have been because I was decked in fancy inov-8 clobber, but also felt like he was kind of saying ‘You’re a bit skinny’. Not that I care.
“Chamonix is full of skinny people right now. For once the mountaineers are in the minority. There can’t be many towns in the world where for a full week, chest bottles, hydration bladder hoses and compression shorts are not just common sights, but the de facto uniform. UTMB banners hang from lampposts. Posters are on bus stops. Stands and flags are being erected. People in grey T-shirts emblazoned with the word “organisation” and scurrying around doing important organising lark. Huge mountains are all around. And they’re calling.
“It’d be easy to ruin your race before it began with some over vigorous tapering runs. But luckily I’m here with my family so there’s little time for all that. I did run the 400m Mini OCC race with my five-year-old daughter however and she taught me a thing or two about pacing. We started at the back – partly because every other runner had a parent in tow videoing their entire race. (The announcer had warned accompanying parents that it was the children who were running the race, rather than the adults). We moved through the field, consistently overtaking, until with about 100m left, to my delight, my daughter said, ‘Let’s go faster Daddy!’ And we stormed through the finish arch taking, she claims, fifth place (her maths is in an early stage of development).
“It’s almost time for the big one, UTMB. The magic four-letter acronym has been in my head every single day since I first let its 10,000m of climb – and another 10,000m of descent – batter my quads like a stampede of really annoyed hippos last year. I can’t wait.”
Read Damian’s pre-race blog post about why UTMB should be a race on every runners bucket list.