Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Introducing the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa Trail Run

Late last week, the National Geographic Adventure blog shared the details on a new ultra-marathon event that will launch next year called the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa. The trail run, which is the brainchild of ultrarunning legend Lizzy Hawker, will pit endurance athletes against one another on a route that has been designed to push their strength and stamina to the limits.

In creating this event, Hawker drew upon her vast experience in the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, an event she has won on five separate occasions. Lizzy also holds the record for running from Everest Base Camp back to Kathmandu, which is a distance of about 200 miles (321 km). When she started thinking about the trail she wanted for the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, she considered her favorite routes, and the things that made them special. Hawker then started scouting trails in Switzerland near the beautiful, but rugged, Monte Rosa Massif.

The course will begin in the Swiss village of Grächen, high in the mountains above the Mattr Vispa, a tributary of the Rhone River. The route will run through the Alps to Zermatt, at the foot of the legendary Matterhorn. From there, it will turn into Italy, crossing through several villages, before looping back across the border into Switzerland. It promises to be incredibly challenging, but breathtakingly beautiful too.

The race will take place in August of 2015, and will cover a distance of 93 miles (150 km), over four days. Each stage of the race will average about 23 miles (37 km), as Hawker wants to challenge trail runners, but she also wants them to be able to complete the run as well. With the race broken down into shorter distances, the runners will also be able to maximize the daylight hours of the long summer days, which will increase the level of safety.

The 2015 edition of the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa will also serve as a bit of a test run for the event. Registration is being capped at just 150 entrants, who will be taking part in what Hawker calls the "Zero Edition" of the race. In 2016, the cap will be increased to 1000 runners, and the event will be non-stop across the entire course.

Find out more, and register for the event, at the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa official website.

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