The long awaited first edition of the Ultra Trail race around Japan's iconic mountain is soon to start. Covering the 156 kilometers of paths with 8530 m of vertical gain is next week-end's challenge for the registered runners. This race is the first of it's kind in Asia. Over the previous years many runners from Japan participated to Ultra Trail races in Europe and America. Originally scheduled in 2011 the UTMF was cancelled because of the tsunami disaster. At the head of the organizing committee, we find Tsuyoshi Kaburaki who finished 3rd in the The North Face®Ultra Trail of Mont Blanc® in 2009 and 7th in 2011.
The race starts north of the mountain, from the shore of the Kawagushi lake and then turns clockwise. In the same spirit of the North Face® Ultra Trail of Mont- Blanc® there are actually two races, the Ultra covering the whole circumference of the mountain and the STY (Shizuoka to Yamanashi) a shorter, 85 km distance race. Having both distances available is important for rising runners who need to test themselves on the half distance before engaging themselves in the Ultra race. About 1000 runners will engage in the UTMF and 2000 in the STY race.
A mythic volcano
Mont Fuji is the mythic mountain of Japan, it's altitude of 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft) m makes the peak the highest point of the country. It's shape is a long used symbol in the japanese culture. According to legends it was first summited in the 7th century by an escaped prisoner and was considered sacred for a long period of times. It now hosts a Shinto Shrine at the top. Seeing the summit is a sign of good luckand it can be seen from Tokyo on clear days. Seeing Mount Fuji adds a lot of value to downtown apartments. About 300,000 people reach the mighty summit each year !!!
Mount Fuji is the perfect area to host such a race and the area is so popular among the Japanese population that hiking trails have been built all around it.The surrounding mountains are tracked with trails following long series of steep ridges all viewing the snow capped volcano. Along the way several lakes complement the natural beauty of the area. The steepest parts of the race will be in the last quarter. After a long trail in the woods under the Fuji, runners will cross a valley and immediately start climbing the steep ridges that lead to Mount Kenashi.
NAO presentation and Headlamp support
In order to assist racers during the night stages for both the UTMF and STY, there will be two "PETZL Headlamp Support Stations" set up at Aid Stations A3 and A8. If you have any problems at all with your headlamp, regardless of brand/model, please feel free to stop by the Headlamp Support Stations.
- A3 Check point at Yamanakako Kirara May 18 18:00 – 24:00
- A8 Check point at Nishifuji May 19 1:00 – 6:00, 17:00 – 21:00
During the race our distributor in Japan, Alteria is also offering some test possibility of the new NAO headlamp on the race. The information can be found on their website. You can also check out NAO samples at the Petzl Booth in the start area in Fujikawaguchiko.
Petzl team athletes on the race
- Sebastien CHAIGNEAU
- Hiroki ISHIKAWA
- Shunsuke OKUNOMIYA
- Hiroyuki OKOCHI (Employee at Alteria)
Follow the race
- Official Ultra Trail Mont Fuji® website
- Petzl Facebook page
- Petzl Twitter Feed
- The NAO experience blog