Today the TNFUTMB organisation is going further by testing the creation of a mark, which will allow training courses to be a source of points, according to very strict criteria. This course is organised this year in partnership with WAA.
Qualifying courses with WAA
WAA, (What An Adventure), an enterprise which focuses on two activities: training and sports merchandise.
WAA Ultra Training has, for several years been organising courses in collaboration with, amongst others, Vincent Delebarre (winner if the UTMB®) for the mountains and Laurence Klein (multiple winner of the Marathon des Sables) for the desert…WAA Ultra Equipment offers ranges of products in the colours of the partner races such as Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®, the Marathon des Sables, or even the Eco-Trail de Paris.
This year the WAA, for several years a partner with the UTMB® are opening the way by setting up, under the aegis of the organisation, a new concept of training courses for preparation for the UTMB®, CCC® or TDSTM valid for any long trail race which is run in the mountains.
The mountains as well as being beautiful can be hostile, difficult and changeable …The potential risks are numerous but it is possible to anticipate them when they were identified and when one is ready for them. So, the Ultra-Trail ® course will offer apart from a reconnaissance of the terrain, physical training and real ‘mountain’ environment training: “Safe” behaviour, good practise in respect for the environment, race management to optimise performance allowing the runner to be the key to his own safety.
Vincent Delebarre‘s testimony: “For 8 years I have organised around fifteen courses each summer which allow me to judge the physical condition and above all the knowledge of the activity and the participants’ environment. And there is still a lot to be done. The qualifying races show the level of experience relating to trail -running but for all that do not confer, the minimum knowledge of good management and comportment in the mountains : knowing what to do, how to react in case of injury, or storms, how to help a wounded person in the cold or under the sun… These courses offer the training necessary for a trail runner to become autonomous because trail-running is not just simply running but also integrating into the surrounding environment.”
The courses earn up to 3 qualification points
The Ultra-Trail® courses allow for the possible acquisition of 3 qualifying points, validation average from both the leader and an external jury. But following the example of « Mont-Blanc courses » in the mountains (courses of 5 days preparation and acclimatisation aiming at the ascension of Mont-Blanc), the awarding of points, same as the arrival at the summit of Europe, is not guaranteed. Bad weather conditions, limited physical condition or insufficient technique can lead to an absence of points. Participation in the courses does not mean automatic acquisition of points.
For these courses in the absence of the idea of the competition, the physical and mental load imposed is equivalent to a trail-running event worth 3 points. To obtain this qualifying recognition, the level of these training courses is very high and the qualities required to participate in it are important: being capable of doing the UTMB ® route at the speed of the official time barriers, having the endurance required for each of 4 stages, of having a minimal experience of the Mountain environment…
As for their progress in stages, the notion is already known and used, since today certain big races with stages like the Marathon des Sables, the Défi de l’Oisans, the Annapurna Mandala Trail, the Desert Oman Raid, the Transrockies run or even the Grand to Grand Ultra… are qualifying and already carry points. Also the number of points from the Ultra-Trail®training courses is determined on the basis of the calculation which is currently used for these races and takes into account the kilometres, positive height gain, number of stages and their difficulty, the time barriers, etc.
Michel Poletti confirms that: « Having tested the courses lead by Vincent Delebarre has run for several years, they demand the physical and mental engagement which is as important as that of a race in stages. They carry a qualitative education on the practice of the trail-running in the mountains (effort management, learning to be autonomous, safety, and respect for the environment…). Beyond just training they can allow the acquisition of the necessary Mountain experience, just as much as by their participation in a race. ».
Training courses for a veritable preparation for trail-running races in the mountains
– Physical and mental preparation
· 170km around the massif of Mont-Blanc
· 9 500m of positive height gain
· To be realised in 4 days at race speed
· Around 10 or 12 hours of course each day, including refreshment stops
· A section realised partially at night
· Same equipment and rucksack packed as for the Ultra-Trail®
– A technical and tactical training
· Management of the first hours of the race
· Techniques : ascending, descending, with poles, without poles, supple running, managing walking/running
· Management of refreshments
· Managing long descents
· Food management
· Orientation tools and their use
· Managing the night
· Micro siestas
· Equipment, clothing, tips, the pack
· Training for very long trail races in the mountains
· Knowing how to read the weather forecasts, adapting clothing and pack
– Raising awareness to the rules of the mountains
· Life in a mountain hut
· The dangers of the mountains and adequate reaction to them
· Witness an accident: what should you do?
· Taking the fragility of the locality into account
· Cartography – altimeter
– With recognized technical leaders
· Vincent Delebarre, high mountain guide, high calibre trail-runner, winner of the 2004 UTMB® 2004, course leader for several years and coordinator of the Ultra-Trail® courses.
· Jean-Claude Marmier: founder of the Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne (GMHM), one of the pioneers of French and world mountaineering, several times finisher of the UTMB®, supervisor for the Ultra-Trail® courses.
· Professional recognised mountain leaders and specialists in trail running
· Specialist contributors: mountain security, experts in nutrition, training, environment, trail runners of high calibre, etc.
– 4 full days
– 4 stages – 165 km – 9 500 m of positive and negative height –
– Up to 3 qualifying points
||1 400 m
||2 700 m
||2 700 m
||2 800 m
– 2 full days
– 2 stages – 100 km – 6 000 m of height gain and 6 150 m height loss –
– Up to 2 qualifying points
– 3 full days
– 3 stages – 119 km – 7 250 m of height gain and 7 450 m height loss –
– Up to 2 qualifying points
||2 524 m
||2 364 m
||2 372 m
||1 556 m
||2 890 m
||3 000 m
A professional and economic dynamic
An information day « trail-running in the mountains » is being organised by the WAA, Vincent Delebarre and Jean-Claude Marmier with the aim of explaining the context of these courses, the stakes and the tolerated levels required by the leaders. It is aimed at, firstly, around ten mountain professionals who because they have the specific information, can supervise the Ultra-Trail® training courses.
The organisers are going even further, by imagining eventually a training which could deliver an additional and specific mention “mountain trail-running” for professional guides or leaders…who would like to organise courses themselves. A discussion is planned with the National School of Ski and Mountaineering to see if it is possible to envisage a collaboration for this training to become recognized speciality, and offered by the mountain careers sector.
Trail-running is today a rapidly expanding phenomenon which is generating an innovative energy urging the development of the discipline and all its players. It is the vector of an economy at every level offering mountain huts, municipalities, guides and race organisers very positive perspectives.
I would be really interested to hear your thoughts and comments on this?