What if you could get an up-close look at UTMB?
🏃♀️🏃♂️😲You know...Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc...the epic 106-mile ultramarathon that circumnavigates Mont Blanc in the French Alps.
👉Here's what happened...
A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel over to Europe to spectate the UTMB, I had...
But none of that prepared me for what I would see and experience.
A few things you should know...
I will preface this with the fact that I went to UTMB to watch American Jim Walmsley.
The beginning of the race was an experience like nothing else...
The 6 p.m. start
😃We chatted with her for a bit before the runners set off at 6 pm which is unusual for a race in America, as we like to begin ours before dawn but over here they run through the night.
🏃♂️🏃♀️As the runners pass by us the roar of the crowd was a wave coming down the street in Chamonix with cowbells and screams deafening the ears, truly something special.
🚗After we watched Jim go by the first time, we hustled to the car so that we could make it to St. Gervais before the crowds got to big.
Thanks to Kim Walmsley and her boyfriend Darwin, we quickly arrived to St Gervais.
This is when I realized just how popular this race is and how insane and passionate these fans really are.
I expected to walk into an empty town or maybe some family members of runners might be around.
Not. Even. Close.
The streets were shutdown and again people were lined up along the fences...
My friends back home were watching. I sent a text to my old friend Mike Friedman about a video with Jim coming through St Gervais. When he saw and heard the crowd cheering on the runners, his response was...
“Dude this is sick!”
He even watched the rest of the live stream.
😲Other friends were texting Will and I about how crazy the fans were and how they were lined up the whole way from Chamonix to St. Gervais.
This was truly the greatest sporting event I have been to.
On to Les Contamines- Motjoie...
We arrived in Les Contamines around 9 p.m. after the leaders had already gone through.
But the town was no less passionate than St Gervais...
We made our way down to the now infamous Hoka light show which was very well done by Hoka in my opinion...
We hung out at the light show for a bit watched the runners come through, cheered them on then made our way back down to the car.
Catch some Zzzs to see runners in the morning
🛌At this point we decided we would be super close to seeing the leaders come through Cormyeur, Italy, so we decided to go back and take a nap and catch up with the race the next morning in Switzlerland.
Tracking Walmsley via the UTMB livestream
Anything for video, but not that...
As he ran out of Trient the fans once again erupted with cheers of support.
😲I was shocked by how many would run behind the runners to get video of them without the runners seemingly minding a question.
Next stop was Vallorcine a nice small quiet town that doesn’t sit to far from Chamonix. It would be our last stop.
It was really inspiring to see just how far the human limit is and how much abuse the body can take.
Will and I decided we would climb up towards La Flegere to watch the leaders come down the last descent into Chamonix.
The final descent...
We hiked up about a mile towards La Flegere, and once again people were lined up to watch the top men come down one final 6KM descent of rocky, technical terrain.
😲The crowd was no less energetic than they were 20 hours ago and no less passionate.
You could see the pain all over his body. But he continued on down to the roar of the Chamonix crowd, which can pick up the body in even the worst shape.
The finish of this race was the most passionate sports crowd I've ever been a part of.
Energized by the UTMB crowd
I was still up on the mountain when Killian Jornet won the race in 19:49:30 and set a new course record.
But we could hear the crowd.
We were there to watch American Katie Schide come across first in the women's race, finishing in 23:15:12.
I have seen the Western States Endurance Run referred to as the Super Bowl of trail racing.
If you’re looking for an adventure, do yourself a favor and head over to the small mountain town of Chamonix during the UTMB series and have the time of your life, I know I did.