To run a long race in a demanding and sometimes unpredictable natural environment is a magnificent challenge because it is a both physical and mental event. If one puts the extraordinarily good weather conditions for the 2013 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® aside, the several preceding years were marked by difficult conditions: in the summer it can be extremely cold (-10° at 2000 m. in August), it can rain or snow. This is not exceptional but simply the nature of mountain weather. During the same race, you could confront blazing sunshine and negative temperatures: these variables can occur within several hours of one another (...).
For the 2014 The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®, those passionate about trail-running will be there! This year we are honoured to welcome 7500 athletes from all over the planet (75 nationalities will be represented). Amongst them, the biggest favourites, men and women, who embody the diversity of our sport worldwide. This year will allow you, which ever race you have chosen from the 5 on offer, to run beside more than 200 internationally elite athletes, representing around thirty different countries. Due to their talents and personalities, these athletes are going to make us dream by re-writing the pages in the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®'s history (...).
Once again this year, the magic of the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc® has worked and been stronger than ever. You were one of 14.000 who answered to the call for registration. This year you will be one of almost 7.500 runners lining up on the starting line coming from world wide in order to setting your dream, of running around Mont-Blanc and experiencing this big international Trail-running party from the inside, in concrete (...).
The first day of the realisation of a dream
For you, December 19th will be the first day of the realisation of a dream. Registering for one of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® events is a founding act for your season or a motivational accelerator in your preparation. This registration gives a new sense to all those hours of training involving pleasure, good organisation, doubts and intensity, in all this energy you mobilise yourself to become one of the players in the field of trail-running at this world summit of Trail running. (...)
At last! At last it was good weather! The roguish sun which for three years was so cowardly finally made its presence felt. The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®, gathering the diversities of the four events of different characters, for each the music, enthusiasm and optimism provoked such emotion that we could have been performing Handel's Messiah, so intense was the feeling of liberation from good weather conditions. If rain is an almost unavoidable element of a race in the mountains, this fantastic light gave the 2013 Ultra-Trail® a special seal of approval. (...)
Since its first hour, The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® has been an adventure shared by runners, volunteers, partners… but not only them. We would like you also to share it with your family, your friends and the associations for whom you are running…! Whatever your role, whether you be a runner, a volunteer, a spectator, an accompanying person, or just curious, your adventure will be unique, personal and indelible. Live race coverage coupled with images from WebTV allows everybody, present at the foot of Mont-Blanc or not, to participate in the party. (...)
I am confident … That's normal I've trained well! The weather? … It should be fine, it has been complicated 3 times now, it will certainly be good this time!... If one thing is certain, it is that nobody can choose the weather and everybody, runners and organisers, must adapt themselves to it. To adapt several routes are possible; to have all which is necessary, not to be tired at the start, to have a moral of steel, to rely on oneself before relying on others… and the organisation will do the rest!? (...)
During the week of The North Face® Ultra-Trail of Mont Blanc®, we involve more than 150 persons, drivers and volunteers, to assure 600 bus departures. No need to push the equations any further to understand that this constitutes thousand trips by car which are avoided. Our role starts here: to organise a big party, to control its impact to the maximum, to guaranty the equity (...)[Click here to see the complete newsletter]
To an innocent spectator, a trail-runner's training could resemble a routine, run, run and run again to build up to their bodies and their mental capacity so they have endurance over big distances. It's the same, seen from the outside, for an organisation of trails, every year preparing the registration, the courses, the provisions, recruitment of the volunteers… a routine ! (...)
To run ultras, is to know how to improvise, to think differently, and even to think back to front. When a difficulty emerges, when we exceed new distances, when it is necessary to choose whether to stop or to continue, it is just necessary to able to think back to front. To be able to think back to front so as not to listen to the little devil of comfort, to make the dream accessible, to clench the teeth rather than resting the pack at the side of the path. But there is a particular point at which trail-runners have difficulty in distinguishing between back to front and in place. Must they put performance before thinking of their health or is it vice-versa? (...)
Practised at first by some nature lovers, trail-running naturally developed around common values such as authenticity, respect, solidarity and equity. During these last few years, we have seen a very large increase in the number of different races and followers (organisers and runners coming from different horizons and sometimes very different disciplines) who each in their own way have enriched the world of trail-running.
We have however recently observed a certain drift which could eventually tarnish the image of our beautiful sport (...).
Everybody agrees that the environment should be respected…. However, because one hears this kind of speech almost everywhere, it can lose its impact and finally not receive any firm action.
We are lucky enough to benefit from a grandiose stage on which the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® occurs and we have the immense pleasure of giving you the chance to discover, or rediscover, it each year. To protect it, it is advisable to become aware of its fragility, everybody is concerned: organisers, runners, spectators, accompanying persons and partners (...).
Extreme solitude. If you are going to run in the mountains at the end of August, 2013, it is maybe to feel this exhilarating sensation to finding yourself alone confronting yourself, alone confronting the elements, in the grand and merciless nature, confronting your demons, also, and why not confronting your guardian angels. Among the latter, certain are truly real, truly concrete…and really useful. Numerous of you come with your family, friends, club members or simply devotees. They are here with you, for you according to coherence - or an incoherence - which concerns only them. We have, always for our part, considered them to be an integral part of the party (...).
Bodies and spirits are in the process of being gently built up in order to cross all the passes of one of the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® events, we rely on you to arrive on-form and as motivated as ever for the start of the race.
However, physical or mental breakdowns are not the only risks which may affect you, it will also be necessary for you to avoid the affects of heat or cold, injuries, or getting lost … In brief to adapt yourself to the mountain, watch out for yourself and for others (...).
To answer all those who have said that you are mad to have signed up to suffer dozens of kilometres around the mountain you may tell them that: the pleasure starts today, here, now. The pleasure to have, at last, managed to gain entry for one of the most incredible events of which you are the heroes. The happiness of beginning able to cross off the days. The delight of planning, during each of your training sessions, by dreaming of future moments crossing passes on your roller coaster ride around the alpine mountains. The happiness that you find in the middle of a pack consisting of 74 nationalities. All that remains to settle is the question of the suffering…. Wait no longer; start training and building up your mental and physical strength progressively (...).
Has registering for the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® become banal? Thousand of trail-runners, men and women, have already done so before you, and maybe you are going to be tempted to register for a second, third, fourth or even eleventh time. Whether in the top ten or the depths of the pack, you nevertheless have something which sparks in you, which begins to spin like the calm before the storm. Is it the rendezvous of your life? Your heart is going to thump for sure that the moment you register, as if it were the rehearsal for the start from Chamonix or Courmayeur. This excitement which is born in you is the sum of the promises that you will keep to reach your objective. If it is so beautiful and if life is good, as from today, it is because everything was built patiently, over time, through the values that we all share(...)