With the current explosion and widespread popularity of trail running at all levels, the first edition of the Ultra Trail des 4 Massifs (UT4M) already looks to be a huge success. More than 900 runners have registered for the upcoming race, far exceeding the 750 initially forecasted. Event organizers focused on creating an original race course. With the start and finish lines in downtown Grenoble, the course passes through the surrounding Vercors, Taillefer, Belledonne and Chartreuse Mountains; 160 km and 10,000 meters vertical gain for this new ultra trail!
The UT4M will take place in Grenoble from August 23-25, 2013.
Grenoble’s race with a view
Starting in downtown Grenoble’s Paul Mistral Park, the UT4M course provides a fantastic mix of difficult terrain and beautiful landscapes. Runners will traverse through four ecologically and geologically rich and diverse ranges, galloping up and down the moderate trails of well-known family hikes in the Vercors and Chartreuse Mountains, in addition to taking on the much more jagged and challenging terrain of the Belledonne and Taillefer ranges.
The first climb of the day will take runners into the Vercors Mountains, a famous hideout for the French Resistance during World War II. Next, participants will run through the Taillefer range, a hiker’s paradise, before ascending the steeper slopes of the Belledonne Mountains, Grenoble’s winter sports playground. After traversing the Grésivaudan Valley, one of the Grenoble area’s key industrial centers and where Petzl’s world headquarters is located, the course will take runners through the final range of the day, the Chartreuse Mountains, with spectacular views of the Northern French Alps.
During sunny weather and blue skies, the race course provides vistas of Mont-Blanc from start to finish. These unique landscapes deserve everyone’s attention and respect, especially those sections of the race course that pass through Natura 2000 protected areas. The organizing committee considers respect for the environment to be an integral part of the founding philosophy of the race, and actively supports protecting the Grenoble area’s natural heritage.
An original, extremely difficult race course
- Ultra 160 – Solo makes a full loop around Grenoble. Passing through the 4 surrounding mountain ranges with 10,000 meters vertical gain, this is not a trail run to be taken lightly. Top runners are expected to take 23 hours to finish the race. The race is especially difficult and requires a specific training regimen since competitors will spend at least one night out running in the mountains.
- Ultra 160 – Relay runs the same exact course as the Solo. The only difference is that this is a 4-person team race, where each runner will give their all over one of the course’s 4 mountain ranges. The first leg will start in Grenoble and run through the Vercors Mountains, the second runner will traverse the Taillefer range and so on and so forth until the anchor crosses the finish line in downtown Grenoble.
- Long 90 – Solo is a much shorter race than the two others. Covering just over half the distance, racers will start at the foot of the Belledonne Mountains and run the second half of the Ultra 160 course. Also not to be taken lightly, participants will still climb more than 4500 vertical meters. This race is much quicker and the top runners will finish in approximately ten hours.
Trail runners from around the world have entered the race. Australians, Americans, Canadians, and Europeans will test their mettle on what is considered to be one of the most difficult ultra trail marathons in Europe.
A few coaches and participants from the Grenoble area are planning unofficial course preview outings either with family members or as a group of friends. These outings will provide everyone with the opportunity to carefully inspect the course while at the same time enjoying a wonderful hike and the fantastic landscapes that the mountain ranges surrounding the Grenoble area have to offer.
Don’t worry! In the event of bad weather, the organizing committee has a backup plan that is just as technical and challenging…
Petzl partners with UT4M for this first edition
Petzl will be right by every runner’s side throughout the night with its line of performance headlamps designed specifically for nighttime trail running. Committed to safety, Petzl will replace your used batteries or defective rechargeable batteries for free. Our headlamp assistance teams will be available at the starting line and during the night from Friday, August 23, to Saturday, August 24, at the Rioupéroux aid station.
For more information
- Petzl's Trail Running page
- The Petzl range of headlamps for trail running
- The Petzl video on youtube, "RUNNING at NIGHT"
- The official website for UT4M
- The UT4M facebook page