Countdown for Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc 2012 will begin soon. Are you ready? Certainly more than mere physical fitness will be required. The Belief Effect might play an important role.
All four UTMB events (UTMB, CCC, TDS and PTL) will provide quite a rollercaster ride ending in Chamonix. I'm humbly attempting CCC (Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix) 100K this year. With 5,950 meters of vertical ascend (and about the same amount of descend), it's far from an easy course. The profile reveals we will climb two mountain passes over 2,500m height as a warm-up and finish with three smaller ones - still at over 2,000m height each.
CCC is limited to 1800 runners, who will start at 10am on August 31st in Courmayeur. We have 26 hours to finish, and there will be six cut-off points along the way. The organisers will provide live tracking to my Twitter. The whole UTMB week will also be webcast live.
With UTMB, it might be a good idea to get prepared for all sorts of surprises. The starting time, route and course length have been variables in the past races. No one knows what the weather will be like. The organizers will text you about any changes, so you better check your phone when possible. The more flexible and adaptable your attitude, the better your chances of avoiding the dreaded DNF are.
Perhaps this funny animation shows best how an event like UTMB might unfold from a participant's perspective. Bon courage!