UTMB week is fast approaching and there’s a lot going on out there. There are races all week of varying distances, there’s acronyms flying about all over the place and it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on and when. If you want to find out a bit more about the event, here’s our guide to each race: the routes, profiles, timings, some relevant information and who the main elites who are running. So if you need to blag it, you can!
First up: the TDS
The TDS has seen some big changes this year which will make it a much tougher race. Essentially the change is more distance (+23k) and elevation (+1,800m) created by extending the second half of the race.
What’s the route?
The race starts in Courmayeur and then heads south to Col du Petit Saint Bernard, taking in Col Chavannes (over 2500m high) along the way, then over to Bourg Saint Maurice, before heading back up to Courmet de Roselend. This is where the changes come in. After Cormet de Roselend the race will now pass through the Beaufortain Massif, taking in Pas d’Outray and dropping down to Beaufort, where the big aid station will now be (it used to be at Cormet de Roseland). Runners will then climb up to Col du Joly via Hauteluce, and rejoin the rest of the regular route, returning to Chamonix via Les Contamines.
The TDS has always been a wilder and more technical route than the well-trodden TMB route followed by the CCC and UTMB. Now it promises to be even wilder and more difficult.
Amount of ascent: 9100m
How many runners: 1600
When does it start?: 4am Wednesday 28th August
When are the winners expected to finish?: On the old route it was 14 – 15 hours for the men, 16 – 17 hours for the women. On this new route it’s likely that the additional distance and elevation will add at least 3 hours to those.
What’s the cut-off?: 42 hours
Key summits: Col Chavannes, Col de la Forclaz, Passeur Pralognan, Col Ouest de la Gittaz, Pas d’Outray, Col du Joly
Runners to watch in 2019: Tom Evans, Audrey Tanguy, Dmitry Mityaev, Kathrin Gotz, Ludovic Pommeret, Hillary Allen, Pablo Villa Gonzalez, Sophie Grant
How many points do you need to do it: 8 from a maximum of 2 races
Previous winners include: Mimmi Kotka, Natalie Mauclair, Xavier Thevenard, Pau Capell, Fernanda Maciel, Michel Lanne
Percentage of female runners in the race: 13%
Average age of runners: 41
Do say: ‘it’s the wilder, more technical UTMB race’
Don’t say: ‘it’s a lot easier than UTMB’ – a lot of people who’ve run both races say that they actually found the TDS tougher. And after this new route it may well be true for most.