Qualify for Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

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Gaining an entry to the iconic Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc shouldn’t be the most difficult part of finishing a 171km Alpine race. Bennie Roux explains the entry process to help make your UTMB dreams a reality.

UTMB Utra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

There are five events under the UTMB umbrella:

  1. UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc)
    171km & 10,300m ascent; 2,300 runners; Starts at 6pm from Chamonix
  2. OCC (Orsières – Champex – Chamonix)
    56km & 3,500m ascent; 1,200 runners; Starts at 8:15am from Orsières
  3. CCC (Courmayeur – Champex – Chamonix)
    101km & 6,100m ascent; 1,900 runners; Starts at 9am from Courmayeur
  4. TDS (Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie)
    119km & 7,200m ascent; 1,600 runners; Starts at 6am from Courmayeur
  5. PTL (La Petite Trotte à Léon)
    290km & 26,500 m ascent; 300 runners; Starts at 9am from Chamonix

South African qualifiers

Prior to 2015 it was almost impossible for a normal Saffa to get to UTMB as we had no qualifying races locally. You had to earn your points from other international races. You can only imagine the costs of doing three international races in two years.

This is South Africa, famous for the Comrades (which doesn’t even earn you a single point), and even the Washie 100 miler is not listed as a qualifier.

We are very fortunate with the long list to choose from now. These are all the South African qualifiers for the 2019 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. 2017

Addo Elephant Trail Run opening spread by Ryan Moss TRAIL 27
Addo Elephant Trail Run 2018 features in TRAIL issue 27.
Addo Elephant Trail Run 2017 and 2018
  • 100 mile 6 Points (161.2km & 5,640m ascent)
  • 76km 4 Points (76.7km & 2,630m ascent)
  • 44km 2 Points (43.9km & 1,740m ascent)
Outeniqua Quest 2018
  • 5 Points (102.5km & 3,700m ascent)
The Munga Trail Race 2017 and 2018
  • 6 Points (398.1km & 9,260m ascent)
Ultra-trail® Drakensberg 2017 and 2018
Ultra-Trail Drakensberg UTD 2018 TRAIL 28
Ultra-Trail Drakensberg 2018 features in TRAIL 28.
  • UTD 160 6 Points (166km & 5,850m ascent)
  • UTD 100 5 Points (100km & 4,390m ascent)
  • GCU 62 3 Points (62.6km & 2,360m ascent)
  • SDR 30 2 Points (30.1km & 1,170m ascent)
Richtersveld Transfrontier WildRun 2017
  • 4 Points (183.1km & 3,530m ascent)
The Beast Trail Run 2017
  • 3 Points (50.3km & 3,060m ascent)
Salomon Bastille Day Trail Run 2017
  • 3 Points (50.5km & 2,280m ascent)
The Magaliesberg Challenge 2017
  • 50km 3 Points (51.9km & 1,760m ascent)
  • 36km 2 Points (34.1km & 850m ascent)
Schaap River Canyon Ultra 2018
  • 4 Points 102.8km / 1990m
Karkloof100 2017
  • 6 Points (156.6km & 3,440m ascent)
Marloth Mountain Challenge 2017
  • 4 Points (Trail 54.7km & 3,550m ascent)
Table Mountain Challenge 2017
  • 3 Points (43.4km & 2,230m ascent)
The Cederberg Traverse 2017
  • 100 mile 6 Points (167.5km & 7,670m ascent)
  • 100km 4 Points (94.2km & 4,200m ascent)
SkyRun 2017
  • 100km 5 Points (99.6km & 4,450m ascent)
  • 65km 4 Points (65.5km & 3,180m ascent)
UTCT 2017 Prodigal Kumalo by Xavier Briel t26
Prodigal Kumalo won UTCT 100km in 2016 and 2017 (pictured), and was our cover athlete for TRAIL 27. photo Xavier Briel
Ultra-Trail Cape Town 2017 and 2018
  • 100km 5 Points (97.2km & 4,350m ascent)
  • 65km 4 Points (64.9km & 3,150m ascent)
  • 35km 2 Points (35.3km & 1,890m ascent)
  • 21km 1 Point (20.5km & 1,080m ascent)

Points required for 2019 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

UTMB : 15 points acquired between 2017/01/01 and 2018/12/31 (in three races max)
CCC : 
8 points acquired between 2017/01/01 and 2018/12/31 (in two races max)
TDS : 
8 points acquired between 2017/01/01 and 2018/12/31 (in two races max)
OCC : 
6 points acquired between 2017/01/01 and 2018/12/31 (in two races max)

The UTMB website even helps you to check and validate your points. This is my result.

Bennie Roux UTMB Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc pointsWith 18 points I qualified for all of the 2019 UTMB races. But it’s not as simple as qualifying.

The UTMB draw system

This is an explanation of the entry draw directly from the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc website.

Registration without the draw

Runners who have been refused twice by both the 2016 and the 2017 draw for the same race may register individually for the same race in 2018 without passing via the draw, on condition that they have the necessary points for 2018. To benefit from this advantage, it is imperative to register within the stated period of time.

To benefit from your advantage, you must ensure that you connect to the runner’s page you used in previous years.

Coefficient of two

The runners who were refused in the 2017 draw will benefit individually from a coefficient of 2. This advantage doubles their chance of success in the 2018 draw (under the condition that they choose the same race as in 2017 and that they have the necessary qualifying points for 2018). In terms of probability, the coefficient of 2 is rigorously identical to a classic draw where the individual holds two tickets.

These runners must pre-register during the pre-registration period mentioned above; if you do not pre-register in the time limit given your advantage will be lost for ever.

International elite

Concerning the recognition of high calibre athletes and also for the fair management of registration, we reserve places for elite athletes, who make the request, according to strict criteria based on the general ITRA performance index.

Our system automatically detects elite runners through our link to the ITRA data base.
If you are not automatically recognised as an elite runner, please send an email.

I did try my luck for an elite entry, but they refused. I didn’t win a 2019 entry in the draw either.

Other essential info

  • Book a flight to Geneva, Switzerland, and take a bus or shuttle to Chamonix.
  • You need a Schengen Visa. Apply for the country you will be staying the most of the trip.
  • Entry fees for the race are not that high; in the region of R5,000.

Best luck on your UTMB journey!

If you can’t run it, enjoy the action from SA:

Many thanks to Dan Marland van Hemert for requesting this article.

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