6 to 9 September 2023 - Registrations open in January 2023!

Aug 14

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A race report from the 2021 Mischabel 60

Lizzy Hawker

Our friend Billi Bierling, mountaineer and journalist, came to the 2021 UTMR to volunteer and to race. Here’s what she has to say about it!

Billi we are looking forward to welcoming you back and wish you good luck for your 2022 race!

Billi Bierling with the UTMR race director in the Himalayas some years ago!

The COVID-19 pandemic was tough for runners all over the world. Even though some of us were lucky and could go out for a spin in the hills, others were stuck on the treadmill for the best part of two years. For this reason, it was wonderful that the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa (UTMR) took place in 2021. I was excited as I have always wanted to participate in one of my good friend Lizzy’s races and to run around the imposing Swiss mountains with other people. My friend Henry came along as a volunteer, and the two of us helped Lizzy with everything that was needed before the race. It was a great atmosphere which made me realise how humble and unassuming the trail running world was. There was no prima donna behaviour among the famous trail runners who helped Lizzy as much as we did. Lizzy made sure that everything ran smoothly and that everyone had a bed to sleep in and good food to devour before their big run. “It is so much fun cooking for so many people,” said acclaimed ultra-trail runner Penelope Freedman who rustled up the most amazing dishes for the runners.

On the third day of the event, I embarked on the Mischabel 60k run which was definitely the most beautiful run in my life! The trail starts out relatively flat through gorgeous woodlands before it drops down for about 800m. It is important to take it slowly during the first 10km of the run as it is followed by a tough 2,000m ascent which takes you up to the Weissmieshütte from where you have the most amazing view of the surrounding peaks. Even though the ascent is arduous, I hardly noticed the strain as I was mesmerised by the beauty around me. Once up there, it was a pleasure to see the friendly faces of the volunteers who provided
me with excellent nosh and drink – always with a smile. After the Weissmieshütte , the trail stays more or less at level with short ascents and descents which I hardly noticed as I was still mesmerised by the view! I can only repeat myself, but I don’t think I have ever seen such stunning scenery accompanying me from start to finish.

After a another stop at Almagelleralp, the trail drops down to the village of Saas Fee which is a reminder that there is civilisation in the valley as up to this point the trail leads through remote mountainous terrain. It was actually good to see some people in the streets of the beautiful village who were kind enough to cheer me on which gave me a huge energy boost. After devouring a good hot noodle soup at the indoor service stop, the trail continues to Hannigalp which is the longest and probably most taxing section of the run. It starts out relatively flat before it turns into a long but dramatically beautiful ascent to Hannigalp where I was greeted by yet another two friendly volunteers who encouraged me to continue. “You are nearly there. It’s a gentle descent back to Grächen,” Liz said andhelped me put on my rain gear as it had started to rain. After a friendly chat and a drink, I continued down the gentle and easy trail that took me back to Grächen where the trail running enthusiasts had been patiently waiting for the last runner to cross the finish line. It was a warm and very moving welcome. Everyone was cheering and singing and made me feel like the champion of the race. I felt so elated that I grabbed the microphone and delivered a little speech to thank the organisers and the volunteers for their hard work. My greatest gratitude, however, goes to the people who marked the trail. The route marking was excellent and for someone like me, who gets lost at the drop of a hat, absolutely essential.

Thanks Lizzy and team for organising this race. I am so excited that I will be back for the same run this year!

We’re excited too! Good luck, Billi!

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Aug 22

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A picture of the new Europaweg route from Zermatt to Grachen opened in summer 2021

Europaweg: new GPS routes 2021 – Grächen to Europahütte and Zermatt

UTMR Admin

Yet again the Europaweg changes its route! This time it’s been improved to make an easier climb towards the Europahütte with less time on the old Europaweg balcony routes, but still plenty of nice scenery. You can download the GPS track (and Google Earth KML file below).

A picture of the new Europaweg route  from Zermatt to Grachen opened in summer 2021
The new Europaweg route opened in summer 2021

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Jul 11

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David Laney runs the “Special Edition” 100 km!

Lizzy Hawker

The iRunFar introduction for David reads “David Laney was born and raised in Oregon, and that just about covers it. David runs for Nike Trail and coaches with Trails and Tarmac. You can follow him from mountain tops to donut shops on his Instagram account.”

With numerous wins to his name, a 3rd (2015) and 4th (2016) place at UTMB, we’re excited to welcome David to our 100 km route. We might have changed everything around to be able to go ahead with a “Special Edition” for 2021 but we still promise plenty of wild and mountainous trails.

Training on US trails!

In David’s own words:

Doug Mayer, owner and founder of Run the Alps first recommended the race to me. He said it was a wild and mountainous race and the place Lizzy Hawker trained for UTMB, so I had to check it out!

I have been wanting to run UTMR for years, and just finally felt like this was the year to explore a different region of the Alps. I will be racing UTMR two weeks after Ultravasan, so the summer will be a combination of long training runs in the North Cascades (my home mountain range) and long flat runs in the valleys of the Pacific Northwest. I hope this combination of fast training and mountain training will have me ready for both Ultravasan and UTMR.

When things get tough during a race or training day, I start by taking a deep breath, soaking in the beauty of the surroundings and reminding myself that running, and life, are often a roller coaster. You may be in a bit of a slump and feeling tired but you never know when things could turn around! Once you realise you are on a bit of a ride, you roll with it! You learn to adapt and respond to the challenge. I often find energy in gratitude, and sometimes just feeling thankful for the opportunity to race and experience the beauty of the hills is enough to light a fire and get rolling again.

I can’t wait to meet the other UTMR runners and share this experience!

Thanks David & good luck!

High mountain running!

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Mar 16

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Brennan Townshend runs the 100 km 3 Passes!

Lizzy Hawker

Brennan is a trail and fell runner based in Keswick in the Lake District of the UK. He lives with his wife Kat and step daughter in the shadow of his local fell (small English mountain), Latrigg. He is currently studying Sports Science at Manchester Metropolitan University, and with his wife has a coaching business High Peak Running. He tells us, “I love training and racing in the mountains across a wide variety of terrains but especially enjoy the long climbs and fast technical descents. I am a racer at heart, having come from a professional cycling background, I’m always drawn to the hardest and most challenging races.”

Q. Did someone recommend the race to you? If so, what did they say about it that made you look more into UTMR and what it was? The UTMR is a race I have had my eye on for a long time and after some trips to the alps in previous years I had been looking to compete here. The stunning trails and challenging altitude gain and loss drew my attention to the UTMR.

Q. What aspect of the race (or parts of the course) are you looking forward to? I’m really looking forward to the three passes during the race, taking in the Passo Salati, Passo Turlo and the Passo Monte Moro as I enjoy the challenge of uphill running at altitude and the rewarding descents that follow. I also am a racer at heart and love the competition with the other runners in the race.

Q. Will you be training this year with UTMR specifically in mind or just keeping in form through racing? I have a summer of racing planned in Europe with the Trail des Hautes Fortes and Matterhorn Ultracs proceeding the UTMR, I will also be spending the based in Chamonix to prepare at altitude for these races. I will also be racing in the UK from May with a mixture of Sky races and Golden Trail national series events.

Q. Does Pizza work for you at checkpoints? What do you rely on to keep you going? For ultra races I eat little and often using a mixture of mountain fuel ultra gels, extreme fuel and supplement with small bitesize sandwiches and salted potatoes to keep my energy levels topped up through the race.

Q. Do you have any secret tips to share with other runners that you’ve learned over the years, which increase your chance of finishing? To increase your chances of finishing your preparations should begin long before the start of the race, training should be progressive, focused and specific to the race you are aiming for. Make sure you test your nutritional strategies and equipment before race day. Pacing is also really important for ultra races as its easy to get caught up in the excitement and atmosphere and set off too fast. Above all, enjoy the process in preparation, pushing your body to achieve amazing endurance endeavours and soak in the atmosphere. I always believe it is important to have emotional investment or attachment to the race you want to finish as it means your motivation and will power will be stronger and allow you to dig deeper than you had ever through.

Thank you Brennan, we wish you a good motivation in September!

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Feb 23

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The Slovak Ultra Trail team again joins for the 170 km Ultra Trail

Lizzy Hawker

We were set to welcome elite runner, Marián Priadka, from the Slovak Ultra Trail Team to the 2020 edition of the 170 km Ultra Tour! We’re really happy that he’ll try again for 2021. We asked him some questions to get to know a little more about him….

Q. Can you remember how you first heard of UTMR, or what attracted you to the UTMR challenge? The first information I got about the UTMR race was from my friends from the Slovak trail runners community. After that I visited the race website and especially watched the Youtube and Facebook videos of the UTMR, which are really attractive. That’s the race, I would like to visit. 🙂 O preteku UTMR som sa dozvedel od kamarátov z bežeckej komunity. Následne som si pozrel videá na youtube a facebooku.


Q. What aspect of the race (or parts of the course) are you looking forward to? Until now I was in Switzerland only when travelling by car to Italy or France for ultra races back in 2018. Already at that time, sitting in the van, I thought about running in the mountains of Switzerland one day in the future. Now I am looking forward to visit those mountains and to see the whole UTMR course. Cez Švajčiarsko som zatiaľ len prechádzal autom na preteky do Talianska.Už vtedy sa zrodila myšlienka,že raz by som si tam chcel ísť zabehať.Teším sa na celú trať.

Q. Will you be training this year with UTMR specifically in mind or just keeping in form through racing? When I’m planning a race, I’m also planning to get prepared for it as well as possible. That means full focus, physically and mentally. For UTMR I will be collecting more elevation for sure, so my legs will be ready to face the challenging ascents.  Plánujem sa postupne pripraviť na každý závod najlepšie ako viem.Na UTMRzačnem zbierať viac výškových metrov,aby boli nohy pripravené na nadmernú záťaž.

Q. Does Pizza work for you at checkpoints? What do you rely on to keep you going? Maybe not pizza during the course at a checkpoint. Never tried. 🙂 I am mostly running on fruits and other vegan food plus energy bars and gels. But pizza at the finish, sounds good :-). Tentokrát pravdepodobne pobežím na vlastnú päsť.Uvidíme ako to bude prebiehať.Strategický presun od 1 kontrólneho sťanovišta k druhému.Každým krokom bližšie k cieľu.

Q. Do you have any secret tips to share with other runners that you’ve learned over the years, which increase your chance of finishing? I’m dreaming about the race and imagine how I will be running on that course. I want to go step by step, from one checkpoint to other. Not to think about the whole route, but about the smaller pieces. The course parameters are a big challenge. Snívam o tom preteku a predstavujem si ako to asi pobežím.Parametre hovoria za všetko.Treba tomu prispôsobiť aj tréningovú prípravu.

Q. Do you talk to yourself a lot when the going gets tough? What do you find helps keep you going when it’s feeling very tough? Well this varies from race to race. As first I’m trying to evaluate how tough and how serious the situation is. If it’s really tough, I go through how I could get out of the situation. I try to calm down and breathe, regain my energy, slow down the pace and continue my race. Je to rôzne. V prvom rade treba vyhodnotiť vážnosť situácie.Ako sa čím skôr z toho stavu dostať. Napr. rozdýchať to, doplniť energiu. Poprípade trochu zvolniť kým sa nezlepšia funkcie organizmu.

Thank you Marián, see you in September!

And in Slovak!

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Feb 21

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La Capretta, Philippe Aurelle, makes his 6th appearance at UTMR!

Lizzy Hawker

We like also to heartily welcome back our loyal runners! Philippe Aurelle, La Capretta, will be participating for the 6th time at UTMR. Thank you Philippe & see you again in September!

Philippe’s participation at UTMR: the 2016 edition 116 km Ultramarathon, the 170 km Ultra Tour in 2017, 2018 & 2019, the Grächen Berglauf in 2020, and yet to come again the 170 km Ultra Tour in 2021!

Championnats suisses en côte (de la montagne) de marche athlétique, Baulmes – Chalet de Grange-neuve / Col de L’aiguillon (Vaud) le dimanche 16 août 2020.(c) Jérôme Genet / www.swisswalking.org

Q. Did someone recommend the race to you? If so, what did they say about it that made you look more into UTMR and what it was? Josette Valloton, the famous guide and mountaineer of Arolla, told me about the race under construction, the UTMR! Indeed, in 2015 she had just participated in the first edition between Cervinia and Grächen… Three grandiose stages with a nice race team and not too many runners, that’s what convinced me to register for 2016 edition!

Q. What aspect of the race (or parts of the course) are you looking forward to? At each edition what pleases me is to discover and meet people of all over the world! Most of them are fans of Lizzy and are always so shy when they see the RD cap on her head!

Q. Will you be training this year with UTMR specifically in mind or just keeping in form through racing? For 2021, I focused my préparation on fun and the possibility of participation in a few hard alpine races in order to be on optimal shape for the UTMR!

Q. Does Pizza work for you at checkpoints? What do you rely on to keep you going? Managing supplies is essential  and to keep moving forward, I have to eat something solid! On italian side my favorite meals are pasta, polenta and especially watermelon!

Q. Do you have any secret tips to share with other runners that you’ve learned over the years, which increase your chance of finishing? With each participation, I gain experience and share a lot of with the others athletes. Not being a mountain man, I learn from those who practice it diligently. Tout seul on va plus vite, a plusieurs on va plus loin! Alone we go quickly, together we go further!

Q. Do you talk to yourself a lot when the going gets tough? What do you find helps keep you going when it’s feeling very tough? When it starts to get difficult, the hardest part is to stay calm! I tend to shout at myself to encourage myself and end up screaming like a goat!

La Capretta

Thank you Philippe, La Capretta, we look forward to seeing you again in September!

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Feb 17

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Kikourou comes to the UTMR 100 km 3 Passes

Lizzy Hawker

For the last few years we have partnered with Kikourou, an endurance sports community in France, to offer a competition for a free place for UTMR. This year Xavier Jacquel was the lucky winner and will be competing in the UTMR 100 km 3 Passes ultra. We asked him some questions to see how he feels about the race in September!

http://www.kikourou.net/

Q. Can you remember how you first heard of UTMR, or what attracted you to the UTMR challenge? I usually take part in local races, next to Lyon in France or in the Chamonix Valley where I come from. The first time I heard about UTMR was on the Kikourou website when they organised a draw to win a bib for the race. I had a look at the pictures and I thought: “Wow, that’s definitely a race I want to run!”. Next thing I know, I win the bib, so here I am!

Q. What aspect of the race (or parts of the course) are you looking forward to? I went to Monte Rosa a few years ago for ski-touring, and I absolutely loved the place. With UTMR, I’m really looking forward seeing what the scenery looks like in summertime. I also know how welcoming Italian and Swiss people can be, and apparently the ambiance around the race is incredible; that’s something I’m very sensitive to. I don’t come here just to run a race, I want to enjoy every parts of the event.

Q. Will you be training this year with UTMR specifically in mind or just keeping in form through racing? The major milestone of my season will be the UT4M around Grenoble in the beginning of July. After that, I’ll just try to recover as much as I can and maintain minimal training to stay fit until UTMR.

Q. Does pizza work for you at checkpoints? What do you rely on to keep you going? Pizza definitely works! I can eat literally anything during a race. Being in Italy and Switzerland, I expect amazing iconic food: excellent Italian pasta with fabulous Swiss cheese, and of course chocolate as dessert… Not to mention a good fresh local beer after I reach the finish line!

Q. Do you have any secret tips to share with other runners that you’ve learned over the years, which increase your chance of finishing? I tend to practice a lot of different sports besides running: hiking, mountaineering, rock-climbing, cycling, skiing… To me, switching between complementary activities is the key to get trained without the risk of injuries inherent to long distance running.

Q. Do you talk to yourself a lot when the going gets tough? What do you find helps keep you going when it’s feeling very tough? When it’s getting complicated, I focus on the positive sides of the situation. I always keep in mind that I’m incredibly lucky to be there, just for fun, whereas many people around the world endure awful things and would give everything to be right where I stand. I also think of very personal stuff, remember some people in my family, and I realize that giving up is certainly not an option…

One last thing! One more time, I want to warmly thank the Kikourou website as well as Lizzy and the whole UTMR team for this incredible opportunity they offer me. I can’t wait to be there!

Thank you Xavier, we are happy to welcome you in September!

And now in French!

Q. Vous souvenez-vous comment vous avez entendu parler de l’UTMR pour la première fois, ou qu’est-ce qui vous a attiré vers le défi de l’UTMR ? Je participe généralement à des courses locales, à proximité de Lyon ou dans la vallée de Chamonix d’où je suis originaire. La première fois que j’ai entendu parler de l’UTMR, c’était sur le site Kikourou lorsqu’ils ont organisé un tirage au sort pour gagner un dossard pour la course. J’ai jeté un œil aux photos et j’ai pensé : « Wow, ça c’est une course que je veux faire ! ». Et j’ai gagné le tirage au sort, donc me voilà !

Q. Quel aspect de la course (ou de certaines parties du parcours) attendez-vous avec impatience ? Je suis venu au Mont Rose il y a quelques années pour faire du ski de randonnée et j’ai adoré cet endroit. Avec l’UTMR, j’ai vraiment hâte de voir la beauté des paysages en été. Je sais que les Italiens et les Suisse ont le sens de l’accueil, et apparemment l’ambiance autours de la course est incroyable ; c’est quelque chose qui me tient très à cœur. Je ne viens pas juste pour courir mais pour profiter de chaque composante de l’événement.

Q. Vous entraînerez-vous cette année en ayant l’UTMR en tête ou garderez-vous simplement la forme grâce à la course ? L’objectif principal de ma saison sera l’UT4M autours de Grenoble début juillet. Il faudra ensuite que je soigne la récupération et m’entrainer un minimum pour arriver en forme à l’UTMR.

Q. La pizza vous convient-elle aux points de contrôle ? Sur quoi comptez-vous pour continuer à avancer ? La pizza c’est parfait ! Je mange tout et n’importe quoi pendant une course. En étant en Italie et en Suisse, j’espère pouvoir profiter de leur gastronomie: d’excellentes pâtes italiennes avec un fabuleux fromage suisse, et du chocolat pour le dessert… Sans oublier une bonne bière locale bien fraiche après avoir franchi la ligne d’arrivée !

Q. Avez-vous des conseils secrets à partager avec d’autres coureurs que vous avez appris au fil des ans et qui augmentent vos chances de terminer ? J’essaie de pratiquer beaucoup d’activités différentes en plus de la course à pied : randonnée, alpinisme, escalade, cyclisme, ski… Pour moi, varier les activités complémentaires est la clé pour progresser en réduisant les risques de blessures liés aux longues distances.

Q. Vous parlez-vous beaucoup quand les choses se compliquent ? Qu’est-ce qui vous aide à tenir le coup quand vous vous sentez très mal ? Quand les choses se compliquent, je me focalise sur les côtés positifs. Je garde toujours en tête que je suis extrêmement chanceux d’être ici, juste pour le plaisir, alors que beaucoup de gens dans le monde traversent des situations vraiment difficiles, et qu’ils donneraient tout pour être à ma place à ce moment-là. Je pense aussi à des choses très personnelles, à des gens de ma famille, et je me dis que l’abandon est juste inconcevable.

Une dernière chose, une fois encore, je veux remercier chaleureusement le site Kikourou ainsi que Lizzy et toute l’équipe de l’UTMR pour cette incroyable opportunité qu’ils m’offrent. Vivement début septembre !

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Feb 12

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Julien Gilleron returns for the 170 km Ultra Tour!

Lizzy Hawker

In 2020 we invited Julien Gilleron, a journalist “Trans-Versalewho writes for Wider Magazine and Alpinemag amongst others, as a media participant in UTMR. Of course with cancellation of the longer events we extended his invitation to our Grächen Berglauf, which ended up as a happy, sunny day of mountain running even while adhering to the restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Julien came to, wrote about, and won the race in great style! So now we’re not sure whether to introduce him as an elite runner, or just as the talented journalist that he is! Either way we are excited to welcome him back for the 170 km Ultra Tour in September. Good luck Julien and we thank you for your support!

Q. Do you remember how you first heard about UTMR or what attracted you to the UTMR challenge?  It’s strange: I almost have trouble remembering – the UTMR seems to have been anchored in my memory for such a long time. But I believe that it was by Sebastien Chaigneau speaking of the UTMR. I remember very well that he called it, “one of the wildest, toughest, authentic and most committed races in the world”.

It immediately intrigued me, because his comment exactly matched my vision of what ultra is all about. I was interested in the Ronda del Cims, for example. This kind of committed race interested me, hard, but so intense! I then discovered the UTMR: there, I saw the organizer, Lizzy Hawker! Everything went very quickly then, it was obvious. At the same time, I was reading Lizzy’s book … perfect timing, harmony. 

Q. What aspect of the race (or parts of the course) are you looking forward to?  A little excessive, a little näive, a little passionate … but sincere answer: the totality. Let me explain. When I prepare myself for a long (and certainly difficult) race, I try to remain both fairly “virgin” and without too much information on the course, while visualizing and studying sector by sector (not easy to do both!). 

I try to remain in a greedy, global pleasure, as long as possible. As if I was lying to myself a little! That’s why honestly, as the UTMR is such a grandiose, hyper mountainous course, where there are ONLY impressive segments … I have trouble selecting parts of it. I am looking forward to the totality. if you really had to choose? I saw some pictures of the fueling points, and I was impressed by their beauty, the care and the help of the volunteers. The smiles of the runners, who return to run. Concerning the course, going from one side of the Matterhorn to the other must be a powerful experience. I love the Grächen-Zermatt trail, but I don’t know much about the rest. I’m impatient to discover the Italian side, in particular Passo Turlo to Passo Monte Moro, which are legendary for me. But I don’t know it at all… yet!

Q. Are you going to train this year with the UTMR precisely in mind or just stay in shape through running?  Clearly, the UTMR 100 mile ultra is the ultimate, main, central objective of 2021. Each month until the race, and even since October 2020 – for example, the choice of my rest periods in November 2020, was always decided with the image of the UTMR in mind. This race lives in me, but in a very positive, joyful way, I would say.  

Q. Does pizza work for you at checkpoints? What are you counting on to continue? It’s confession time … I’m crazy about pizza, but sadly, I don’t allow myself to eat pizza (a “pleasure-food” by definition) too much. On a 100M at fueling-stations? Pleasure is nice of course … but watch out for undesirable effects, hypoglycemia, acidity … an explosive cocktail. Sad and difficult, but I do not recommend it for myself. Or if my stomach really doesn’t accept anything else! But at the finish line, then yes in triplicate! 

How to succeed in continuing? There will be hard times, that’s for sure. Quite a few secrets in my opinion: to be well prepared physically (volume, volume), and especially mentally. In my opinion, 60% at least relies on the mind- being able to approach full consciousness, to immerse yourself 200% in each minute of the race. And therefore … enjoy it. To welcome pain, small problems and the weather in a different way. Finally, concerning the food: mhhhhh ….. I have an incredible luck, which is to never have digestive problems. Nevertheless, I discovered … tuna in oil, canned lentils! I remember 30 hours of racing eating the best watermelon of my life.

As a bonus: I dream of it, but will it be possible? For once, I would really like someone to help crew me, a loved one, to share that with her or him. It would be a real dream, and to not want the usual solitude.

Q. Do you have any secret tips to share with other runners that you’ve learned over the years that increase your chances of finishing?  Ah ah, no secrets. I have relatively little experience – let’s stay humble – and put things into perspective! But what if I really had to say a few things that can change everything? First, be mentally prepared, so not to suffer, no, rather to be “200% in. in”, and work as long as possible, before the race. Secondly, not to have a food experiment on the day. Stay on safe values, and keep as large a range of “pleasure” foods as possible. And have Plan B, Plan G, Plan W. Thirdly, visualize the big day as a day of celebration. And lastly, share with someone? A runner met the same day, or friend or a relative… 

Q. Do you talk to yourself a lot when the going gets tough? What helps you keep going when you are feeling very hard? In the long distance, I try as much as possible to remain silent with myself. I try not to “disturb myself”, I can be very annoying, talkative, annoying with myself! When the difficulty increases, I mostly start to breathe differently, work on the breath, the visualization … start to put myself in anesthesia a bit, or switch my mind. I also use repetitive sentences a lot, probably “basic” self-hypnosis … And then when it’s too hard … visualise by kilometer sections, it remains essential I think, the course of 70, 100, 130K … 

Thank you Julien, see you in September!

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Jan 30

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Darcy Piceu, ultra runner hoka

Darcy Piceu to run 2021 Ultra Tour Monte Rosa!

Lizzy Hawker

We welcome Darcy Piceu to the 2021 Ultra Tour Monte Rosa to compete with Jasmin Paris, Roman Evarts, Tom Owens, Matthieu Girard and others!

Darcy has been running ultramarathons for 20 years and has completed over 103 ultra races. Some of her notable accomplishments include 3 time Hardrock 100 winner, 3 time Wasatch Front 100 winner, with additional first places finishes at Bighorn 100, Hurt 100, Angeles Crest 100, Rhonda Del Cims 170k, Javelina 100, Bigfoot 120, The Bear 100 and Cascade Crest 100. Darcy also holds the women’s supported Fastest Known Time on the 211 mile John Muir Trail. When she’s not running, Darcy loves to ski. She works as a Psychotherapist in Boulder, Colorado working with youth in the schools and has a private practice. Above all else, Darcy is a Mom to one incredible 12 year old daughter, Sophia.

Darcy Piceu

We asked her a few questions about why she’d like to try UTMR in 2021!

Q. Did someone recommend the race to you? If so, what did they say about it that made you look more into UTMR and what it was?

I’ve known about this 170 km ultra trail race for years and have wanted to run this course for quite some time.  The timing hasn’t worked for me in years past, but I’m over the moon to run the UTMR course this year! I imagine Lizzy’s style of running and sense of adventure is similar to my own and cannot wait to see what she has created with this race!

Q. What aspect of the race (or parts of the course) are you looking forward to?

The mountain scenery!  Just seeing new trails and the surrounding mountains is what I am looking forward to the most,  AND sharing the trails with others in the running community.

Q. Will you be training this year with UTMR specifically in mind or just keeping in form through racing?

I will be training early and often this year leading up to other mountain courses (including Hardrock 100).  I am hopeful that this training will be sufficient enough for UTMR as well.

Q. Does Pizza work for you at checkpoints? What do you rely on to keep you going?

Pizza is great!  I also love potato chips and Coke.  

Q. Do you have any secret tips to share with other runners that you’ve learned over the years, which increase your chance of finishing?

Have patience with yourself and know that you will have low points, but they are temporary. Eat and drink early and often!

Q. Do you talk to yourself a lot when the going gets tough? What do you find helps keep you going when it’s feeling very tough?

YES!  I talk to myself and give myself little pep talks along the way.  Sometimes music can also help with boosting mood.  

Good luck with your training and races this year Darcy and see you in September!

Endurance runner Darcy Piceu
Endurance runner Darcy Piceu will run the UTMR 100 mile course in September 2021

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Jan 27

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Roman Evarts returns for the 2021 Ultra Tour

Lizzy Hawker

Back in 2018, Roman Evarts was a UTMB Podium Finisher and then he chose the 2019 UTMR 100 mile ultra trail for his ‘next big challenge’. Of course in 2019 the weather gods intervened and the race was halted in Gressoney, around the halfway mark. He says he is ‘stoked’ to return and finally do the full loop around Monte Rosa!

Alternative to UTMB

Back in 2019, here’s what Roman Evarts said about the chance to run UTMR, ” The UTMR 100 miler has been on my radar for couple of years. I know the area and have been on some parts of the course, but never had an opportunity to have a see how the whole loop around Monte Rosa looks. The awesomeness of the area, and the right proportion of the miles vs elevation gain, was the indication for me to enter without any doubts. For anyone who missed the UTMB lottery, this is a great, but hard, alternative.”

Roman practicing eating on the move!

Running UTMR

So to 2021! We asked Roman a few questions, given his experience of the first half of the UTMR course already, whose answers will hopefully benefit those running UTMR in 2021.

Q. Can you remember how you first heard of UTMR, or what attracted you to the UTMR challenge?

Once I met Richard Bull at the streets of Kathmandu and he tried to convince me that UTMR is the best race in the world. “Organising is just the best”, he said. “Ok”, I answered. 

Q. What aspect of the race (or parts of the course) are you looking forward to?

The glacier after Zermatt brings back good memories from 2019 edition. I liked the vibes and energy of all involved. Looking forward to it!

Q. Will you be training this year with UTMR specifically in mind or just keeping in form through racing?

Yes, I will keep my eyes on UTMR as my goal race of 2021. Maybe it will be the only race I take on this year. Or no racing at all if corona says so.

Q. Does Pizza work for you at checkpoints? What do you rely on to keep you going?

Pizza is that thing that always pop up in my mind when things are getting tough out there. But in reality I never tried pizza at the checkpoints. I am more a coke and banana person if I am not really ready for the race. If I am ready for the race it means I was rich enough to spend those 200EUR on enough gels to rely on them during the race. Yes, sometimes for me it can be about 70 gels in 24 hr. Absolutely delicious!

Q. Do you have any secret tips to share with other runners that you’ve learned over the years, which increase your chance of finishing?

If you nailed your eating strategy you most likely will get to the finish line on condition that your mental game is spot on. How fast depends simply on your physical state. You have to find a food you like to eat during the race. You have to figure out the amount of this food per hour you need to keep you going. And you have to train your stomach to digest that food during exercising.

You can be creative: ‘fish n chips’ might work as well if you can manage to take in the right quantity at the right time. Some sport specific nutrition makes life little bit easier; but you still have to use them A LOT in your preparation runs in order to adapt your energy input/output systems to make sure that the product will be harmless for you during the race. With the mental game it is difficult. If you have more experience it’s always easier to get over disastrous race moments! If you don’t have enough experience then be enthusiastic about getting your experience through prolonged discomfort. Physical-wise: love yourself. Don’t push too hard!

Q. Do you talk to yourself a lot when the going gets tough? What do you find helps keep you going when it’s feeling very tough?

I am not really talking to myself – talking to a boring person as myself is a bad idea during those low patches. The worst thing can happen  – you get some music stuck in your head and you are repeating that song again and again. In my case it’s usually some random Russian pop from the 90’s. Even – as everyone knows – its the best music ever its still very hard to run in that repeating tape situation.

The thing makes my motivation high: I know for sure that other runners are probably having the same issues – and who knows how big their pain is if the music of their brain’s random choice is some brutal DubStep. Translating for any people who are not that familiar with that type of music: everyone suffers. Be the one who suffers less! Yes, you are always getting over it (if you keep on eating your fish ‘n’ chips as mentioned above).

See you in September!

See you then, Roman, best of luck with the gel consumption training!

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

Find Roman Evarts on Facebook.

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