This Monday, August 26th at 8:00 am, UTMB® week celebrates its 17th edition with the departure of the PTL® (300km 25,000m of vertical), followed at 10:00 by the MCC (40km 2300m of vertical), the race for volunteers and locals. These two distinctly different events have truly each found their own audiences, and each in its own way has brought together residents of the region.
The Little Trotte à Léon, the PTL®
His name is already legendary. Léon Lovey, longtime friend and Swiss co-president of the Association les Trailers du Mont-Blanc, was looking for a name for this new race. With his Swiss sense of humor, he teasingly offered up his own name as a little joke—but the name stuck! La Petite Trotte (Or “Léon little trot”) was born: about 300 km long with 26,000 m of vertical, accomplished together as a team, with a 152h 30 minutes time limit and with complete self-sufficiency. This year features 125 teams of 2 or 3 runners (the 314 total runners include 41 women) from 30 countries. The French still have the greatest numbers, with no fewer than 119 participants signed up for the adventure, ahead of Belgium (19 participants) and Italy (18).
A specially created course that crosses the Rhône
One of the unique features of the PTL® is that the route and theme of each year’s race vary from year-to-year. For the first time, the PTL® will pass through the Swiss Valais town of Fully, between the Rhône river and neighboring vineyards. Participants and supporters will enjoy the warm welcome of the Valaisans and high-quality local products of the Fully region, notably the Petite Arvine grape. PTL®2019 remains true to its values: it offers an enlarged version of the Tour du Mont-Blanc, via little-known, technical and very wild trails, often difficult to reach and featuring breathtaking views. This adventure is not a competition (there are no rankings), and it explores the very frontiers of trail running. It has a unique set of requirements: evidence of racing history among its participants, specific regulations and guidance, the team requirement, an adapted mandatory gear list, and the presence of mountain guides on certain sections of the course.
The route will be technical from the very first climb, which features ladders along the Rognes trail, the historic route to Mont Blanc with its aerial views over the Chamonix valley. Runners will then cross the Col de la Seigne to join the life base at Morgex, where they can count on a warm Italian welcome. They will then pass over the rough and wild topography of Mount Fallere, with its view of the Aosta valley glaciers. Once in Switzerland, runners will be able to regain some strength courtesy of the Fully life base, before embarking on the beautiful and highly technical climb of the Grand Chavalard and the Dent de Morcles. They will finish their epic by passing through Col de la Terrace, their final ascent before finally reaching Chamonix.
Over the years, this event has always had a strong sense of team spirit. The teams themselves feature names that say a lot: “Lolo’s Little Troop”, “Living the Good Life”, “We’re Just Out for a Little Walk”… There will be a gathering on Friday, August 30th at la place Triangle de l’Amitié in Chamonix to know if the finish time of 100 hours can be bettered.
MCC Lures Local Runners
Dedicated to volunteers, local runners and race partners, the MCC has caught the eye of residents of the Chamonix valley, with this year no fewer than 189 registered runners from the villages of Servoz, Les Houches, Chamonix and Argentière. So that the race maintains a lively spirit, particular care has been given to the entertainment along the course, with some fanfare taking place at Col de Balme, and musical entertainment in Argentière’s village center.
Local runners who can be followed include Cecilia Flori (Italy), César Costa (Switzerland) and Sacha Devillaz (France). Columbia volunteers will offer entertainment to encourage the runners along the course, as well. Without a doubt, this year’s MCC will once again have a high level of energy and enthusiasm.
More info www.utmbworld.com