Live from Chamonix, France: Preview-Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc

I can tell you that the lobby of the Hotel Alpina in Chamonix, France, is very nice, though the internet connection from was pricey.  No photos yet, but we are here for the Ultra Trail Tour de Mont Blanc, one of the most spectacular ultra-marathon trail running races in the world. The UTMB will be Deb’s first true trail running test at the 100+ mile distance. The race begins at 6:30 P.M. (Chamonix time) on Friday evening. 2200 competitors will be lined up. Less than 8% are reported to be women. Many top Americans are here to race the men’s and women’s races. Notably, on the men’s side: Karl Meltzer, Hal Koerner, Scott Jurek, and Topher Gaylord. Nikki Kimball should be favored on the women’s side. I don’t know who the top European runners are…yet, but I’m sure to find out.

I’m playing an interesting role. I have dual responsibilities to look after our son, while crewing for Deb. I have coined the term: Sherpa Dad. It aptly describes the role that results in sore muscles from lugging gear around. I will be getting support from Buddy Teaster and his family. The Teaster’s are spending a year abroad, based in Spain. Buddy blogs about their adventures.

The map of the course, shows all the challenges ahead for these runners/hikers.

Tomorrow is all about race preparation. The runners will be resting and fueling up for the 163km event. The crews will be planning the logistics involved with following the runners on the course. The runners are wearing two chips each and a cool SMS system allows anyone with text messaging on their phones to track their favorite competitors. I plan to be tracking Deb. Her race number is 2383. The website can also be used to track runners, though it is a challenge to navigate. Look for the British flag if you want to have a chance at translating the technical French.

That is all for now. A report on our afternoon in Geneva, Switzerland, and other adventures will be forthcoming. Now, back to the race preparation.

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