Ultratrail du Mont Blanc 2017

Mental power has made a dream come true

The Ultratrail du Mont-Blanc is legendary. For the 15th edition, 2537 participants had lined up to run around the Mont Blanc Massif within a time barrier of 46h30min. The Tour de Mont Blanc, a distance of 171 km and 10000 m elevation gain is normally hiked in 10 stages in 10 days. For me a dream has com true. Two yeas ago I was in Chamonix and could experience the unique atmosphere of this race as a spectator and this year I was running there! It was a touching moment for me to feel the passion of Chamonix and the UTMB at the starting line. It made me shiver. The passion is connecting the the runners, the spectators and anybody involved to this event. The streets of Chamonix are packed of enthusiastic and cheering spectators, the first ascents in Les Houches also. This encouragement is carrying us into the silence of the night and the solitude of the mountains. The extreme contrasts make the UTMB unique and a challenge for body and mind. In a race where not even the elite runners can be sure to arrive at the finish line in Chamonix you have to push your limits. For me that means in figures: to run 50 km longer and 3000m elevation gain more than I have ever run before. Two complete nights and almost two complete days on the run, only interrupted by short breaks at the refreshment stations.  At the evening of the start of the race there were changing weather conditions. Light rainfall and fog after two hours, -3 degrees Celsius and snowfall at night at the Col du Bonhomme and the Col du Seigne, the frontier to Italy. After the sunset I could see the Mont Blanc for a short time in between the clouds. The whole day was a constant changing of rain, snow, sun, fog and wind. The Highlight was the ascent to Gran Col Ferret (2500m) at the frontier between Italy and Switzerland with fall of snow, icy wind and temperatures of -6 degrees Celsius felt over -10 degrees Celsius. On five refreshment points I had the possibility to meet Petra Weber my “Assistance”. I am very greatful for her support and her experience as a mind coach in competition situations. She was also on duty for two days. With her I had the possibility to exchange ideas and to discuss the strategies for the next stage. Define physical and mental goals for the stage and find solutions to realise them. The vision of crossing the finish line in Chamonix gave me the power and energy to stand unfavourable circumstances like wind, rain, snow and 20 hours of running in darkness and was encouraging me to blow all obstacles out of my way and to push my limits. The last descent to Chamonix did really compensate me for stresses and strains. The sun was shining, a fantastic view of the Mont Blanc the whole massif and great atmosphere at the finish line. For me it was a special moment to arrive in Chamonix and to cross the finish line together with Petra. A huge and touching experience, that I will remember forever.