Tour du Mont Blanc - The Facts!

Tour du Mont Blanc - The Facts!

You may have found yourself to be one of the lucky handful of people to get into this year's UTMB race or one of it's popular races during the program like the OCC or CCC. Or maybe it's something like you'd like to do in the future! It's an incredible feat and a truly unforgettable experience of a lifetime. But the route which the UTMB follows, the Tour du Mont Blanc has been around far longer than the race which is held at the end of every August.

Here are just a few facts about the route:

  • The route is normally hiked in around 12 days
  • It was Horace Bénédicte de Saussure in 1776 who was the first known person to walk the whole route (he also made the 3rd summit of Mt Blanc and features on a famous statue in Chamonix dedicated to its ascent after coming up with the idea, offering a reward who made the first ascent)
  • The first Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race was held in 2003, 772 runners started, only 67 finished
  • France account for around 30% of the entrants
  • Around half of the runners are aged 40-49 years old
  • More than 30% on average DNF on the UTMB
  • Most people navigate anticlockwise, as does the UTMB
  • The original TMB route, like the UTMB has changed over many years and has a lot of variants to explore, take a map if you're going self-guided!
  • The overall UTMB winner will complete the race in around 20 hours
  • Elizabeth Hawker (UK) has been the first female 5 times, a record unbroken
  • Frenchman Xavier Thévenard has won the UTMB 3 times and is the only person to have won the UTMB's grand slam, having also won the TDS (2014), CCC (2010) and OCC (2016)
  • There used to be no prize money for winning the UTMB
  • For 3 years in a row from 2010-12 the UTMB couldn't follow the complete circuit due to horrendous weather
  • Whilst the UTMB is taking place, Chamonix contains enough lycra to shrink wrap the planet (who knows? but there is a lot!). There are around 50,000 spectators, 10,000 runners and 2,000 volunteers who support the race series
  • UTMB is more than just a single race. In fact it’s a weeklong festival of running that includes numerous other races that run into Chamonix like Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix (CCC), a 101K, Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS), a 145K, Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) a race that takes teams of two to three over 300 kilometers, Orsières-Champex-Chamonix (OCC), a 55K, and Martigny-Combe-Chamonix (MCC), a 40K held for volunteers and locals of the race.
  • The highest point is just over 2,500m on the border with Switzerland
  • It's one of just a few routes where you need to carry your passport, as you pass through 3 different countries
  • 46 hours and 30 minutes is the cut-off
  • It's much more enjoyable to run the route over 6 days and we've never had a DNF!

Whether you are heading out to the UTMB week to race or support, we wish you the very best of luck and success!