As I mentioned on Wednesday, today marks the start of the 2012 North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in France. Some of the best endurance runners in the world have gathered in Chamonix, where they’ll soon set out on a 168km (104 mile) run around Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in western Europe. Now in its tenth year, the race has become one of the biggest and most well know ultra-marathons on the planet.
All told there will be more than 6000 runners, from 73 countries, who will be attempting the UTMB this year. Amongst them will be American Mike Foote, who finished in 11th place in 2011. Mike recently sat down with National Geographic to share his gear list for the race, which was posted on the NG Adventure Blog yesterday. If you ever wondered what an ultra-runner carries with him when he hits the trail, you’ll definitely want to give this story a look.
As you can probably tell from the image, Mke actually won’t be taking a lot of stuff with him. In addition to his trail running shoes, shorts and a couple of t-shirts, he’ll also have a North Face Featherlite Rain Jacket, a Black Diamond Icon headlamp, hydration bladder, a variety of nutritional options, gloves and a sun visor. All of which he’ll carry in a lightweight backpack designed specifically for this race.
The UTMB is known for being a grueling event for the milage alone but the weather tends to be unpredictable and fickle as well. It is not uncommon for the runners to experience scorching heat, howling winds, rain and blizzards all on the same day. Considering the trail wanders up and down the mountain, giving the runners a total of 9600 meters (31,496 ft) of vertical gain, its little wonder that they need to carry extra clothing for the event.
For the first time ever, this year’s UTMB is being broadcast live onto the web. To follow the race simply click here.
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