This week, the eyes of the trail running and ultrarunning world are all on Chamonix, France, as the annual UTMB Mont-Blanc race festival takes place in and around the mountains of the Chamonix Valley. this. The main event, the 170 kilometers UTMB, which circles the Mont Blanc massif, starts at 6:00 p.m. local time on Friday August 26, and this year is going to be crazy! In addition to the generally tough course and star-studded ultra-light field in the men’s and women’s races this year, as in the past, the weather could play a big role.
As of this writing, the race day forecast calls for storms and temperatures in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit with chilly winds along the ridges. Over the past few years, in circumstances like this, race organizers have required participants to wear additional cold weather gear and on a few occasions the course has even been changed to ensure runners’ safety. . This year, I assume the runners will need the additional equipment required, but the course will not be changed unless it becomes impassable.
From my experience, I believe it’s important for all participants to focus on three things in this year’s race: adjusting expectations, preparing meticulously and staying positive.
Due to potentially hostile weather, athletes should prepare for the race to take longer than expected. Mud and slippery rocks on the uphills and downhills can slow people down and the need to stay on top of whatever it takes to complete such a run means stops at pit stops will likely take longer and require more logistics planning. In short, this could be a great year to just throw your rhythm chart out the window.
Earlier this week, I was talking with a runner from the UTMB and said to her: “Just ask your crew to bring you everything!” I was only joking. Given the night start and the expected cold and wet conditions, staying warm will be a major concern. Good gloves, a warm hat, layers and several wardrobe changes will be essential. In this case, it is certainly true that if you don’t prepare, prepare to fail.
Nothing affects a rider’s mood and state of mind more than extreme conditions. Whether it’s the heat Western 100 Statesor the altitude at hard rock 100, adverse conditions can bring down even the most hardened veterans. In the hours leading up to the start of the event and during the event, it is essential that riders stay in the moment, control what they can control and accept that each participant from the front to the back of the pack is facing the same challenges. Maintaining an optimistic frame of mind will be key to the success of this year’s race.
The UTMB excites and inspires the global ultrarunning community every year. This year, in addition to providing excitement and inspiration, it will also have some life lessons to teach. Lessons that athletes can take home and apply to their everyday lives. The importance of adjusted expectations, careful preparation and an optimistic outlook can make us all better runners and, ultimately, better people.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week comes from the Bandolero Brewery in Clovis, New Mexico. Bandolero’s signature pale ale, Pancho N’ Lefty is a fruity, dry-hopped pale ale brewed in the classic tradition. Light and crisp with just the right blend of hops and malt, Pancho N’ Lefty is a great warm weather beer that pairs equally well with barbecue, Mexican food and pizza.
Call for comments
- What do you think of running and running in bad weather?
- Is it all bad or do you weirdly enjoy it sometimes? !