If you fancy stretching your legs this week, then look no further than the North Face races.
A now yearly occasion, the 4 events are taking place in and around the Mont Blanc area, departing and finishing in Chamonix.
Today, 28th August the TDS and PTL races are currently happening and on Friday 30th, it is the turn of the UTMB and CCC.
In summary the races are:
UTMB- Ultra trail du Mont Blanc – 168km ,9600m of ascent
CCC- Courmayeur Champex Chamonix – 100km , 5950m of ascent
TDS- Traces des ducs de Savoie – 119km, 7250m of ascent
PTL – Petite trotte à Leon – 300km, 24,000m of ascent – done in teams.
The UTMB, starts in Chamonix, passes through Les Houches, St Gervais, Les Contamines before going over the col Croix de bonhomme to descend into Italy and Courmayeur and then on to Switzerland. It largely follows the Tour du Mont blanc route, one of Europe’s most popular long walks that takes an average of 7-11 days to complete.
Runners of the UTMB will however, be attempting to do this well within 46 hours. The quickest of them will finish in about 21.30 hours.
Starting this Friday at 4.30pm in Chamonix, the runners are expected to pass through St Gervais from about 6-8pm and then in Les Contamines from 7-10.30pm. There’s usually a very emotional and electric atmosphere in the village when spectators witness the 2,300 contestants coming down from the ridge that separate St Gervais from the Chamonix valley. Supporters line the streets to cheer and offer encouragement knowing that these incredibly fit participants are going to run through the night, the next day and the following night to finish no later than 2.30pm Sunday afternoon.
I will be watching the event on Friday so will post some images from the feed station in St Gervais.
We currently have Chalet Fontaine, smack bang on the Tour de Mont Blanc route and close to the UTMB trail. I live 2 doors down from this property and watch from my decking the hikers with backpacks and sticks walk in the direction of Les Contamines through out the summer months. Almost everyone stops at the fountain to fill their water bottles and take pictures of the lovely hamlet. The picture above is of the fountain in winter. Chalet Fontaine is just out of sight.
Chalet Fontaine can be viewed here: http://www.alpine-property.com/index.php?page=prop_3_chaletfontaine1&lang=en&hist=page_searchXreg_6Xlang_en