Columbia, Montrail & Mountain Hardwear Secure UTMB Sponsorship

“Three brands of Portland, Oregon-based Columbia Sportswear Company (Columbia, Mountain Hardwear and Montrail) are the new footwear and apparel sponsors of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) trail running races in and around Chamonix, France.” (http://running.competitor.com/2014/11/trail-running/sole-man-columbia-montrail-secure-utmb-sponsorship_117806)

In an unexpected turn of events, The North Face’s sponsorship of what is surely the world’s most famous ultramarathon event, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, would appear to have ended after 12 years.

By all account, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is still looking for a main, title sponsor, but Columbia, Mountain Hardwear and Montrail are the new footwear and apparel sponsors of the event, a move which will surely increase the profile of all 3 brands in the European market.

“The UTMB now includes five late-August races with a total of 7,500 runners, including the iconic 104-mile namesake race that loops the Mont Blanc massif from Chamonix to Courmayeur, Italy, to Champex, Switzerland and back to Chamonix.” (http://running.competitor.com/2014/11/trail-running/sole-man-columbia-montrail-secure-utmb-sponsorship_117806)

More information:

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Calm Amongst The Storm: Jez Bragg’s 2013 UTMB

Jez Bragg recounts his 2013 The North Face Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc race in ‘Calm amongst the storm: Jez Bragg’s 2013 UTMB’ on www.run247.com. It’s an interesting account of Jez’s approach to this years race, having experienced issues in both the 2011 and 2012 races. Following the race online, I was initially surprised to see Jez so far down the field. However, as this article shows, his rise through the rankings to an eventual 11th placing (10th male), was the result of a carefully crafted strategy. Well worth a read and even more so if, like me, you hope to run UTMB at some point in the future.

Glenmore 24

It may well be UTMB weekend but there’s still plenty going on back in Scotland. The Glenmore 24 is back after the success of last years event and there are more than a few familiar faces from the S.U.M.S. regulars, including Ian Minty, who supported me so well in this year’s West Highland Way Race.

The weekend consists of a 12 hour and a 24 hour race, with approx 30 starters and 40 starters respectively. The event takes place in the Glenmore forest, not far from Aviemore and just beneath the Cairngorm mountains, on a 4 mile loop, the majority of which is on wide forest trails and landrover tracks. It’s an excellent location, and, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I have a particular fondness for Cairngorm trails.

All the best to everyone running the Glenmore 24 this weekend. Definitely an event that I plan to do at some point in the future. I will be thinking of you all as I head off to (hopefully) sunnier climes!

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc

The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) takes place this coming weekend. Having completed some 13 ultramarathons these past two years, many of which contribute anywhere from 1 to 4 UTMB points, I now have considerably more points than the minimum entry requirements. However, realistically, it will be a few years before I tackle this, the pinnacle of European trail running.

Whilst my own assault on the UTMB is some years away, I can, however, thank Chamonix for inspiring me to tackle ultramarathons in the first place. Back in 2009, Leanne and myself visited Chamonix and were inspired by the stunning terrain and multitude of routes. This led me to find out about the UTMB and, finally, to find out about and then participate in the Scottish ultramarathon scene.

The UTMB is accompanied by a further 3 races, from 98km up to 250km.

  • UTMB: Ultra-Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc (166 km +9,400 m)
  • CCC: Courmayeur – Champex – Chamonix (98 km +5,600 m)
  • TDS: Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (105 km +6,700 m)
  • PTL: La Petite Trotte à Léon (250 km +18,000 m)

Further information:

A good many participants in the above races will come from the UK and I am aware that there are a number of S.U.M.S. participants over in Chamonix both racing and supporting. With a forecast of snow down to 2000m on the Friday night, an already challenging race will be that bit tougher. Best of luck to you all, stay safe, wrap up warm and enjoy it.