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Why Monte Rosa Ultra

Jul 29

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Why Monte Rosa Ultra

A bucket list ultra – Why choose Ultra Tour Monte Rosa?

UTMR Admin

When people enter for the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, the ultra trail race around the massif of Monte Rosa, we ask them to tell us why they entered, with this question.

Of all the races in the world, why did you choose to race the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa?

And here are the answers!

Massimo Scribano

Because i think that this race is a real tough race and not just a commercial one.

Sarah Hansel

I ran Tor last year and have been having a hard time finding another race that might live up to my experience there. A number of people recommended this race to me; it looks rugged and wild and incredibly challenging, and not as crowded as UTMB.

Hans Schmid

Love the Alps (especially under sunny conditions). UTMB too busy, expect UTMR to be more intimate and to my liking.

Kristian Gotsch

Because of it being in unique surroundings and not too big in terms of runners.

Svitlana Lavrenchuk

The scenery, organisation and the course.

Trent Ribaczkow

The course looks brutal and beautiful, while still having the charm of not having huge crowds and commercial popularity. The perfect recipe for personal growth.

Rasmus Braad

Route description. mountain terrain. cheap flight ticket to Geneva.

Lee Kit

Simply because it is very tough while the scenery is splendid!

Emil Nordh

No crowds on the trail and for the surroundings!

Rory Mitchell

Beautiful scenery, tough but rewarding trails, and glowing reports from everyone I know who’s been before.

Sergio Alla

Because the view and the challenge.

Frederik Burger

I love the Alps and having done the CCC twice this seems like the next step up. Aiming to one day do the full UTMR & UTMB. I’m typing this sat on a bench (having a coffee) before heading up on Stafal-Gabiet ski lift!

Rob Cain

Looks like a beautiful part of the world, and a challenge. What could be better!

Start line ultra tour monte rosa

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Latest Posts

Oct 27

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Alternative to UTMB ultra trail

Alternative to UTMB – a comparable European 100 mile race

UTMR Admin

“What is a good alternative to UTMB – Ultra Trail Mont Blanc?”

The internet is a great place to prefix a great product’s name with “Alternative to” to find a way to either find something cheaper, simpler, as yet ‘undiscovered’ and quieter etc. Especially the case when the product in question is sold out!

With ultra trail races, no different. UTMB, the classic European 100 mile bucket list foot race, is always sold out and with a lottery for places, plenty of capable runners are looking for an alternative race each year. As Roman Evarts advises below, don’t cancel your 100 mile plans, switch to a similar race and “just keep on working towards a big 170 km event.”

Alternative to UTMB ultra trail
Two great mountain tours.
Here’s some 2018 feedback from Andre Lauhoff 

“In January I was disappointed after not to be drawn in the UTMB lottery, but now I know it was the right and even better decision to participate the UTMR. I found joy with fantastic people in non commercial environment where all is about passion for ultra mountain running. This 4 days in Grächen with my first 100miler were very special for me and I will thank Lizzy, Richard and all runners, all volunteers, all spectators for this. Please keep the race at it is.” link

To help those looking for an alternative to the UTMB, here are some opinions from runners who know both UTMB and UTMR courses, which might help. Don’t agree? Give your opinion below in the comments box!

Jason Poole

I’ve been fortunate to finish some really amazing races in many parts of the world.  This includes finishing the Hardrock Hundred five times, Tor des Géants, Ronda dels Cims, UTMB, Zugspitz and many more.  I can honestly say that the UTMR is one of my absolute favorite mountain running races of all time.  It offers up such a diverse mixture of terrain and topography, not to mention postcard-worthy views of some of the most famous and recognizable mountains in all of Europe.  The race is very well organized and offers just enough support, yet not so much that you can’t let your guard down while out on the course.  Coming from Colorado in the USA, I was very impressed with everything the UTMR offered.  I highly recommend this race as a great alternative to larger, more extravagant races.  You won’t be disappointed!

  • Jason Poole UTMB® 2011 32:27:54, General ranking : 81, Category ranking V1 H : 26 / UTMR 2017 39:22:17 15th / V 5th

Brian Melia

brian melia utmr runner ultra
Brian Melia, UTMR 2017

UTMR 2017, 2nd Veteran Male 39:00:33, 13th overall

You could say that UTMR is an alternative to UTMB, however it is so much harder mentally and physically. The climbs, the technical parts…. it is so different. However, it is 170 km and not too far away so if you fail a UTMB entry it is certainly alternative.
You do get a rude awakening though, not far from the start… 💪💪😢🇮🇹❄️💥

[i.e. there is a big climb beginning 2 km after the start, which leads right into technical mountain trail…]

  • Brian Melia UTMB® 2013 29:24:05, V1 H : 28 / UTMR 2017 39:00:33 13th / V 2nd

Denise Zimmerman

dennise zimmerman ultra runner at utmr with Lizzy Hawker
Denise Zimmerman, UTMR 2017

UTMR 2017, 2nd woman 38:47:55

UTMB is a very famous and nice, popular race. It is well organised and marked, and the course is very nice. UTMR is a smaller race and it is very familiar [friendly]. The organisation is good. The aid stations are a little bit small for the big distance. The course is great and for me it was nicer then the UTMB course, but much more technical and so much harder then UTMB. I took much longer then UTMB [to finish]. (UTMR 38:47 vs UTMB 31:00)

For me both races were great!

  • Denise Zimmerman, 2nd Woman UTMR 2017, UTMB…31:00:03 in 2016 and finished also in 2015, 2012, 2011, 2009
UTMR 2017 Gill Fowler Credit_Lloyd_Belcher
Gill Fowler (c) Lloyd Belcher

Gill Fowler

UTMR 2017, 4th woman 41:33:23, La Sportiva Australia

I think UTMR is a fantastic course! It has more appeal to me than UTMB, because for me the mountains are more spectacular, the terrain more challenging and the trails more technical.

It is a great alternative, but it depends on the person. I think they need to be a confident and strong runner/walker. UTMB can cater for a wider range of participants.

I also really like the size of the event, and am happy being in the mountains by myself, and don’t need to have spectators snd fanfare, but if a runner wants this, maybe this is not a good alternative.

It is the extra challenge of UTMR that makes it more attractive. I loved UTMR and I hope to be back.

  • Gill Fowler 2013 UTMB finisher, 28:50:30, 6th female.

Roman Evarts

Roman Evarts UTMB alternative
Roman Evarts training near the Annapurna Range, Nepal

In my opinion Ultra Tour Monte Rosa is the best possible alternative to the UTMB for somebody if the person had a working long term plan towards 100 miles and failed in the UTMB entry lottery. Both events are only one week apart and there is not much needed to reschedule the season’s goal. I would recommend to all those who are saying due to failure in the UTMB lottery: don’t say “well, maybe next year”, but just keep on working towards a big 170 km event and give it a try on Monte Rosa’s trails. It will be the best option for you to test your mental and physical abilities in a big race. You will gain a lot of experience and will learn new things about your body and mind. With all this you will take a huge boost of confidence and conclusions with you to your next training block towards UTMB.

UTMR doesn’t have as much hype as UTMB does, but if you don’t care about being into the Brazilian Festival-style mood then go for Ultra Tour Monte Rosa without any doubts and regrets. The trails and views around Monte Rosa are awesome!

  • Roman Evarts is from Latvia but trains in Switzerland(UTMB 2017 35th EVARTS Roman  24:58:48)

100 mile ultra in stages!

Remember another alternative to UTMB or UTMR is to race 100 miles / 170 km in 4-stages. Before the UTMB the course was run in stages apparently. The advantages are many: run in daylight hours, stay in mountain villages in comfortable hotels where you can eat well and socialise with other competitors, and you still cover the distance getting to run each stage harder or more fluidly that you would as an ultra.

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Jul 29

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Italian ultra 100 km race checkpoint

Feedback from runners in 2017

UTMR Admin

While feedback is sometimes critical (and constructive) there is a lot of happy feedback from many race competitors. Here is a selection from 2017….

Basil Geoghegan

“The UTMR was awesome. Putting together a race on this terrain is impressive. I loved it. I have never run a stage race before. Standing in an Alpine village waiting for the clock to strike 6 and running until it strikes 6 again in another village is a great experience. The camaraderie and banter with other runners was better than my expectations.”

Thomas Naughton

“I loved the event.  I found that because for the stage races you are staying in hotels overnight, you are able to spend a lot more time with your fellow runners than you would if you were doing the ultra. Course is beautiful and I thought organisation was as good as I’ve seen it for an ultra.  Volunteers and staff were brilliant. One of the friendliest races I’ve been at (in terms of people). And one of the most brutal (in terms of terrain)!”

Brett Hochfeld

“I really enjoyed the race beautiful and brutal in equal measure. I loved your personal touch & prayer flags on the summits – it really added a special feel to the race.”

Janine Canham

“Loved having hotels to sleep in, real food for breakfast & dinner and bags carried for us!  Altogether a fantastic event.”

Dane Ryan

“This is my third year at the UTMR and I have really enjoyed being part of the race, it has given me focus, a goal and helped my running enormously. The course is challenging and beautiful and the volunteers friendly and helpful, the whole event has a informal almost family feel to it – which is great.”

Alan Wood

“Fantastic route, really enjoyed the stage race concept. Overall a fantastic event and extremely well organised given the logistical difficulties. I will definitely be recommending the race!”

Nicola Gover

“Great event, really well organised, incredibly well marked and lovely helpful volunteers at all times.”

Aleksandr Vikulin

“The trail is very beautiful. It deserves being run in daylight, so I really loved the staged format.”

Venetia Wingfield

“Still small enough to run in the wild and to make (and find) friends and a good spirit amongst participants and volunteers.”

Lotte Carritt

“Volunteers were always excellent. Always friendly, helpful and encouraging. A real asset to the race.”

Georgia Fane-Hervey

“This was one of the best and most breathtaking adventures I have experienced.”

Sophie Villance

“J’ai adoré cette course, le concept de 4 jours est vraiment génial, les paysages étaient magnifique et l’organisation était top, un tout grand merci!”

Barb Campbell

“The course was everything you promised and much more. I’ve finished many races of different kinds but few of them have felt like such a major accomplishment. it was a wonderful experience – spectacular, adventurous and fun.”

Tobias Hurter

“A great, unforgettable, very hard race. Please keep the personal atmosphere. I’m glad to pay a higher entrance fee to run in such a friendly atmosphere – no need for another overcommercialized mass event.”

Helen Cospolich

“I absolutely love this race!”

John Moreton

“I had one of the best, if not toughest runs of my life and loved it all. Thanks and see you all again.”

Derek Fish

“This route was outstandingly beautiful and extremely tough (which I expected).”

Sarah Gilliam

“A week on and I am still blown away by the amazing experience I had running the 170 km race.”

Beverley Redfern

“I thoroughly enjoyed this challenging race and thought the organisation was very good. All queries prior to the race were answered very promptly. This is a very beautiful and challenging race and I feel privileged to have taken part. I felt very well looked after.”

Spyridon Siakoufis

“I felt that you really love what you are doing and that is what I am looking for on these races. Thank you for the experience.”

Johannes Parkkonen

“It’s one of the most memorable and rewarding races I have done.”

Peter Hjelmström

“Great race in absolutely astounding mountains. Excellent and challenging race course. Although a major large race, the race organizers and volunteers made it a very personal experience.”

Philip Pearson

“Thanks very much for staging such a tremendous event. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The route and scenery would be hard to beat anywhere in the world and I met many lovely people over the four days.”

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