Off to Mont-Blanc!

Posted on in Sports + Training by Joel Meredith


Well...that's a really good question! I guess the answer is: We'll soon find out! In a few very short days, I will make the jump across to Chamonix, France and the 11th running of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). As one of the most revered ultra-trail races in the world, the UTMB course spans just over 104 miles, travels through 3 countries (France, Italy, and Switzerland) as it encircles the Mont-Blanc massif, and includes some 64,000 ft of total elevation change. To say "it's a monster of a race" is an understatement.

2 months ago, I returned from the China race physically shattered, so managing recovery while still preparing for this race has been a bit of a challenge. Changes were necessary to my training plan, but I'm not certain that those changes weren't for the better. I think it's always better to show-up at the start rested and ready, rather than overtrained and tired. It will take everything in me to see the finish line, and I'm hoping that my mind and my legs will comply.

One of the challenges of this race is that runners must carry a required list of gear in order to anticipate and deal with the rapidly changing alpine environment. There's a fine line between meeting the requirements and packing the adequate gear for such an immense challenge. My solution? Cart my entire closet of gear to Chamonix and melt it down to the essentials just before the race! These choices can often make or break your opportunity to complete the course, so I'm hopeful to start with a really fine-tuned kit.

As always, the ultimate goal in such an endeavor is SIMPLY TO FINISH! And hopefully I can do that in the upright position! The race will commence Friday, August 30 in the late afternoon and my pre-race goal is to finish before nightfall of the 31st. I'm not sure I want to have to survive 2 nights out on that beast of a course! I'll be attached via mobile to a LiveTracker (see link below) that should update my position as I move through the various checkpoints. Please follow along and send all of your good vibrations my way as I push for the finish!

The North Face UTMB '13 Live Tracker


Joel Meredith

I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, but I've called Nashville home for the past 16 years. I moved here for school, but stayed for the people. While I'm a medical professional by trade, I'm an adventurer at heart. Running is my true passion. My biggest inspiration is seeing people break out of comfort zones and challenge themselves to accomplish the extraordinary.

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