101km and 6100m elevation... simple...
Thursday, 12 November 2020
running 101 km and gaining a total 6,100 metres of positive elevation... getting into the race is no easy feat and the 5000 available spots fill up in less than 24 hours
Last year, I had the great opportunity to tick off one of my bucket list items when I participated in the UTMB CCC. This race consists of a gruelling semi-tour of Mont-Blanc, starting from Courmayeur (Italy), after running 101 km and gaining a total 6,100 metres of positive elevation, you finish in Chamonix (France). It is one of the most challenging yet beautiful courses in the world and the UTMB is considered one of the world’s most important trail and ultra races and is frequented by the world’s top ultra and trail runners.
Due to its incredible popularity, getting into the race is no easy feat and the 5000 available spots fill up in less than 24 hours. As a runner you must demonstrate you’re capable of finishing the race by running in certified trail and ultra events and accumulate a certain amount of points from the International Trail Running Association. Once you accumulate the necessary points, you then have to enter a lottery and hope you’re among the athletes selected. I was one of the few lucky ones and was able to get for the 2019 event and represent my country of Puerto Rico.
I came to the race healthy and well trained, which is no simple feat. For a race of this type, training not only involves following a consistent and demanding training plan, but also finding conditions similar to the race to train your legs, tasting and practicing with the nutrition you will consume during the race, testing your equipment so that it functions appropriately and is comfortable for long hours.
My hope was to complete the course in a conservative 17:00 hours... To my surprise I finished the race in 15:50!
My hope was to complete the course in a conservative 17:00 hours, based on my training and previous races with similar profiles I had completed while living in Chile. To my surprise I finished the race in 15:50! Placing me in 26th position in my age group (40-45) and 160th place overall (from a total of 2100 runners). I came away extremely happy with my performance and most of all, blown away by the beauty and scenery of the Alps. Being one of the most important and popular races in Europe, the energy and vibe you feel in Chamonix the days prior to and after the event are incredible. Athletes are walking around talking about trail running, companies are demonstrating their products, restaurants and venues are offering amazing food, music and events, making for a wonderful festive ambiance.
I’m incredibly grateful to have participated, especially given the fact that the race had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the global pandemic and that the Mont Blanc glacier has seen an incredible amount of melting due to climate change. After an event of this magnitude, and with the current conditions, it’s hard to find motivation to continue training consistently. I’m very goal oriented and always plan my races a year in advance. With my recent move to Oxford, and joining the wonderful team at Oxford Brookes Sport as an ambassador, it has given me a jolt of energy and I’m looking forward to getting back to training consistently in new and exciting locations.
This piece was written by Javier Monllor, Crazy Running Enthusiast, Senior Lecturer at OBBS and Brookes Sport Ambassador. You can find Javier on Instagram
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