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Peak Transfer | Marathon du Mont Blanc – Race & Spectator Guide
8th June 2015

Marathon du Mont Blanc – Race & Spectator Guide

Chamonix is famous for its extreme attitude to outdoor pursuits and when it comes to trail running nothing changes. Chamonix is preparing for the Marathon du Mont Blanc Weekend taking place from the 26th to the 28th of June 2015. But don’t be fooled this is not just a Marathon but a huge festival celebrating trail running in all its glory. With 6 very different events taking place over just 3 days ranging from 800m to 82km’s attracting people from all over the world to the Mont Blanc landscape, there is something for everyone whether your running, supporting or spectating. Heres Peak Transfers Race Guide covering all you need to know about all the events taking place at the Marathon du Mont Blanc Weekend.

Marathon du Mont Blanc – Race Guide & Itinerary

Friday 26th June

Mont Blanc 80km
1000 runners will take to the high alpine trails as part of the aptly named Skyrunning series. The longest race of the weekend is in fact 82km (that extra 2kms makes a difference!!!!) and has to be completed in less than 24-hours. Starting at the blurry eyed local time of 4am this race is deemed to be the most technical trail race in France…and the most beautiful!!! This ultra trail race is immense in its physical demands on all competitors with over 6000m of vertical ascent and descent as if the 82km’s were not hard enough already! This is known as a partially-supported race which means that competitors have to take most of the equipment and supplies they will need with them including a mandatory kit.
The Route / The Profile

Mont Blanc Vertical KM
In its 5th year as the name suggests this a 3.8k trail with 1000m ascent following the Brevent gondola up the mountainside. This is another of the weekends alpine Skyrunner races and involves 500 competitors running, climbing…and perhaps crawling up to Brevent as fast as their legs will allow them. Not for the faint hearted or those not keen of heights due to the route requiring ‘via ferrata’ type climbing and exposure (cables, hand holds, rails and steps) to get to the top. At a more social start time of 4pm local time there are no excuses not to support these brave (and maybe a little crazy) runners.

Saturday 27th June

Mont Blanc Cross 23k
The Mont Blanc cross is one of the shorter trail events taking place at the weekend limited to 1500 runners. A 23km race with a vertical gain of 1454m and elevation loss of 474m it is the longest of Saturday’s events and will be starting at the Paragliding landing field in Chamonix.
The Route / The Profile

Mont Blanc 10km
Described as a nature race this is very much the ‘Fun Run’ of the Marathon du Mont Blanc Weekend. A great introduction into trail running following the now snow free cross country skiing tracks in Chamonix. In waves from 1pm, 1000 participants of mixed abilities will take to the trails to experience running in nature
The Route

Mont Blanc Mini Cross
The “Mini-Cross” is a small trail reserved for children only. Starting at 1130am at the paragliding field with distances ranging from 800m – 3km children will run in the Bois du Bouchet. A great event for any budding trail runners.

Sunday 28th June

Marathon du Mont Blanc
At last we reach Marathon day, 2000 runners will cross the start line in Chamonix at 7am to depart on their 42km journey with a vertical climb of 2511m and descent of 1490m.
The RouteThe Profile

Marathon du Mont Blanc Chamonix

Marathon du Mont-Blanc Spectator Guide – Itinerary

Friday June 26th 2015

Place du Triangle de l’amitié
4:00 am : Start of the Mont-Blanc 80km
2:00 pm : First finishers from the Mont-Blanc 80km
4.00 p.m : Start of the Vertical KM
6:00 pm : Vertical KM dinner in the Sports Complex (free for KMV runners)
8:30 pm : Awards ceremony for the Vertical KM
Romain Desgranges Film ” Joshua Tree ” at Cinema Vox in Chamonix ( preview )
6:00 pm to 12:00 pmt : 80 km dinner in the Sports Complex (free for 80km runners)

Saturday June 27th, 2015

Paragliding Landing Field
8.00 a.m : Start of the Mont-Blanc 23km
10.00 a.m : Start of the Mini Cross (staggered starts depending on category)
1.00 p.m : Start of the Mont-Blanc 10Km (3 waves)

Place du Triangle de l’amitié
4.00p.m : Awards ceremony for the Mont-Blanc 23km
4.30p.m : Awards ceremony for the Mont-Blanc 80Km
5.00p.m : Awards ceremony for the Mont-Blanc 10Km

At the end of the prize giving, raffle for the Mont-Blanc 23km, 80km and 10km

Sunday June 28th, 2015

Place du Triangle de l’amitié
7:00 am : Start of the Mont-Blanc 42 km
10:30 am : First finisher from the Mont-Blanc 42km in Planpraz
4:00 pm : Awards ceremony for Mont-Blanc 42km

Mont-Blanc Marathon Base Camp
Thursday 25th : 10am – 8pm
Friday 26th : 10am – 8pm
Saturday 27th : 8am – 8pm

Mont-Blanc Marathon Base Camp is a sporting village and race expo that harbours a number of sports manufacturers showcasing their latest technology, trends and merchandise the Place du Mont-Blanc. The UCPA are providing a vast range of activities such as climbing wall, trampolines and bouncy castle. Plus live music and free animations being displayed to all those that pop in.

Where to Spectate and Support

Spectator Guide to the Marathon du Mont Blanc Weekend

Whether your supporting a friend, family member or loved one or just simply spectating the fantastic physical effort and stunning views of the Marathon weekend from the sidelines there is plenty to keep you occupied! Those those limited on how far they can travel or who need to stay in Chamonix there are a number of giant screens dotted around the town with live feeds to different points of the race as well as the the entertainment provided at Base camp (Place du Mont-Blanc). All the villages the 6 races pass through are generally full of spectators encouraging runners on their journey creating an amazing atmosphere throughout the Chamonix Valley.

For those of you that are able to/ would rather explore more of the valley or get out there to support runners heres are top spectator spots:

Friday – Mont Blanc 80km and Vertical KM

Starting at a very unsocial hour of the morning, you have to be a pretty dedicated spectator to be on the start line in centre of town before 4am for the 80km race. One thing we would suggest in the lead up to the 80km race is that there are three provisional courses on the table depending on snow and weather conditions so do check which route is being run!!!

Col du Montet/ Vallorcine

In the morning we would recommend a trip to Col du montet if you have a car the car park here is a perfect spot to gain a good vantage point to spectate at 23km into the 80km race. the majority of runners will be passing through from about 7am onwards. But you will have to get there early if you want to see those elite runners in action. Or if you would prefer it is easy to jump on the train to vallorcine. One of the main aid stations is located here so an ideal time to provide any support to those competing, or perhaps get the main bubble lift from Vallorcine and hike 15 minutes to the tete du Balme where you can provide much needed encouragement to runners having just completed a spectacular climb at around 48k point of the race.

Le Tour

The Le Tour car park is 55k a nice place to see the 80km runners coming through. You can drive or catch the free shuttle bus to le Tour so getting there is easy for everyone. Runners will be passing through from midday onwards so why not take a picnic or grab some lunch while your there!

Chamonix / Brevent

From 2pm chamonix will be expecting the elite runners at the finish of the 80km race, so you can clap in all those competitors who have successfully tamed the 80km course around the chamonix valley. This combined with the start of the Vertical km race at 4pm is a must! In the afternoon we would definitatly recommend watching the VKM race. You can watch the start from town at place du mont blanc or if you are feeling adventurous hike (or get the Brevent gondola) up to Brevent to spectate with a view, sticks are banned for competeors but we would recommend it if you want to climb up for a great view point.

Saturday – Mont Blanc 23km, Mini, and 10k

With the much shorter races is a much more sociable timetable today. There are two main places to be today and that is the Paragliding landing fields and Place du Triangle de l’amitié. From 8am at the paragliding landing firlds where the 23km runners will be setting off, from 10am for the multiple children races to finally the start of the 10km race at 1pm. You can motivate and cheer runners of all ages and distances to complete their event. All the event prize givings will take place including that of the 80km race from 4pm at the Place du Triangle de l’amitié.

Brevent

For those that need to be at the finish for the 23km race remember there is a new finish line in Planpraz. After the Charlanon valley, runners will go through a balcony path to reach the new finish line where spectators will be able to see and encourage runners to sprint for the line during the last 500m of the race as well as enjoy the outstanding panorama of the Mont-Blanc Massif. Like mentioned previously you can hike the vertical km route or simply catch the gondola.

Sunday – Marathon du Mont Blanc

At Last marathon day! Its great to watch the start of the Marathon, it is a great atmosphere and you can feel the anticipation i the air from the competitors! At 7am it is a little on the early side but well worth it, especially with the sun rising. Similar to the 80km route we would highly recommend getting to col du montet (13km), Vallorcine (18km) , or Le Tour (28km) as they are great spectating sports to cheer runners on and easy to get to by car, bus or train. Col du motets and Vallorcine will see the majority of runners passing through from about 8am – 10am and Le tour from 9am to midday.

In the afternoon we plus many other people will make are way to the finish in Plan pray by either hiking up the vertical Km or jumping on the Brevent gondola. The atmosphere here is an amazing party spirit and with the ability to cheer all competitors on easily for the last 500m its great for spectators as well as competitors.

Tips to being a superb spectator/ supporter

Spectator Guide to the Mont Blanc Marathon

If you’ve ever run or walked a marathon, you know how crowd support can immensely help you. Heres Peak Transfers marathon spectator tips:

  • Be Prepared – You should be prepared with your own food and drink supplies as well as clothes for all weather. Have some teats for the runners, such as jelly beans, orange slices, pretzels etc. Tissues or paper towels also come in handy for runners.
  • Track your runner – The Mont Blanc Marathon allows you to track runners progress around the course live from their website.
  • Make noise – Runners really appreciate noise whether thats yelling, clapping, whistling etc. If you want to be a great spectator why not make/ obtain some sort of load sounding instrument? Such as a Cow Bell, we are so close to Switzerland after all? it would be rude not to.
  • Respect the Course – Don’t stand or walk on any part of the course. It’s not fair to runners if you make the race course even more crowded or become an obstacle that they have to run around. If you can’t see the runners from where you’re standing because it’s too crowded, move to a different viewing location.
  • Make Signs – Runners love to read signs along the race course to help break the monotony or provide much needed humour in times of a complete humour failure. If you’re supporting a family member or friend, make a sign with their name that will encourage your runner but also help them to easily identify you. Some examples I have liked before are: There’s beer at the finish line, All walls have doors, Pain is temporary, Pride is forever, Mind over muscle, Success tastes salty not sweet, I’m sure it seemed like a good idea 4 months ago, Run like you stole something, Smile if you’re not wearing underwear, This is a lot of work for a free banana, Toenails are for sissies.
  • Pack for Speed – You may not be RUNNING, but you will be running. You will be surprised how much running around you have to just to keep up with a runner at different stages of the race so i would recommend decent footwear appropriate for where you are planning to spectate (hiking boots, or suitable trainers).
  • Find Your Runner & Be noticeable – Make sure you know exactly what your runner will be wearing, from head to toe so you can easily identify them. Let your runner know what you’ll be wearing and where you think you’ll be standing, so he or she knows to look for you.
  • Have a Finish-Line Plan – The finish line area can be crowded and chaotic, so make sure you and your runner have a plan to meet up after he or she crosses the finish line. Some races have designated spots where runners can meet family members. DO head to the finish line with snacks and fresh clothes or anything else they need.
  • Enjoy yourself & Smile – If your enjoying yourself and have a beaming smile, its infectious. Try to spread the love and make the event as enjoyable as possible.

Good luck to all those that are racing at the end of the month, be sure to check out our previous posts (Marathon Weekend & Mont Blanc Marathon)  about previous years and competing in the Mont Blanc Marathon. Thank you in advance for all those planning on supporting runners and the event. It all helps to make this event the specatcle it is today! For further information please visit the Mont Blanc Marathon website.

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