Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ultra Trail Mont Blanc : Good Luck Fellow Malaysians!

Ultra Trail Mont Blanc starts tomorrow August 30, 2013 in the Alps. The race will be a single stage 168km mountain foot race. Doubted as the toughest foot race in Europe, 2013 will see 2,300 ultra athletes racing across the Alps, gaining more than 9,400m (that is TWICE Kinabalu) in elevation. 
Photo from Cynthia Gan's Facebook. She is Racing UTMB. First Malaysian Woman to attempt UTMB
The race will bring the athletes over France, Italy and Switzerland, before finishing in France. It will see them traversing over 7 valleys, 71 glaciers and 400 peaks. 
2010 race profile from
This year's race will start (as usual) in the centre of Chamonix, on Friday, August 30th 2013 at 16:30. It is expected a maximum of 2,300 runners to be taking part (as those qualified, registered and paid). The cut-off is 46hours or 2hours shy of two days. The fastest runner is expected to finish in 20hours. Course record is 20hours 5minutes set in 2003. In 2012, the race was cut shorter due to extremely bad weather. This year, as from the photo above, it is all system go!

As UTMB is the Holy Grail for Trail Running, you need to qualify for UTMB. A minimum of 7 qualifying points is needed from a maximum of 3-trail races worldwide recognised by the organiser. The qualifying races changes every year and it is valid for a year only. So for this 2013 UTMB, the racers within Asia get their points from China (or Hong Kong Vibram100 2012 - 3 points), Malaysia (TMBT100 2012 - 3 points) and Singapore (TNF100 2012 - 2points). There are "easier" races carrying 1point and the athlete looking to qualify to race UTMB would just have to plan and play it smart to earn the minimum 7 points. 

There is NO prize money. How is that for passion (and not commercially) driven?

Representing Malaysia for UTMB

In recent years, the growth of Ultra Marathon type of races has been exponential. Running community no longer get turned on with the typical 42.2km marathons and look for ultra distance races exceeding 50km. If that is not enough, many look for tough and challenging races that make mere mortal questioning their sanity. For UTMB, Malaysia will be represented by three inspiring people. Malaysia, you have three more reasons to cheer during Merdeka 2013.
Please join me to wish these three athletes the very best of luck and to bring Jalur Gemilang crossing the finish line at Chamonix!
Allan Lee (right) during Mt. Rinjani Ultra. Photo from Garmin Indonesia
Ng Seow Kong after finishing Badwater Ultra. Photo from his Facebook
Cynthia Gan (right) on location at UTMB with Sebastien Chaigneau of Team North Face
For the record, Cynthia is the FIRST MALAYSIAN WOMAN racing UTMB. She has sacrificed a lot to be at UTMB. Her passion and the drive is admirable. She has completed an Ironman Triathlon and a multiple marathons and ultra-marathon finisher. Passion? You are looking at her now. 

Click here to follow the race (with video feed). Be inspired and cheer for these awesome Malaysians!

More awesome view of the Alps from Cynthia Gan's Facebook

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