Prepare and test your equipment
The choice of suitable equipment is a key factor in the success of your race. Ultra-endurance requires thorough preparation, including the choice of the equipment that you take with you.
The month of August in the Mont-Blanc area can be very hot (more than 30°C), but it can also be very cold (up to -10°C experienced above 2000m), with rain, hail or even snow. Your equipment must be suitable for confronting all types of conditions and enable you to spend one or two nights on the race route, according to the speed of your progression. In the case of an incident, your equipment must enable you to await help in sufficiently safe conditions.
The UTMB® imposes obligatory equipment which all runners must have with them permanently to avoid risk of penalty. Checks are carried out during the races. We can only encourage runners to also take with them the equipment which is highly recommended, as well as the equipment that we advise them to have.It is essential to be able to adapt your equipment to your reality, test it during training sessions in varying conditions and take everything that will be useful and necessary. Weight is a concern, but don't be too minimalist. Optimise your chances of success and your performance through judicious choice.
FAQ obligatory equipment
Is the obligatory equipment really obligatory?
Yes. You must have all your obligatory equipment on you or in your pack throughout the entire race.
Is the list of obligatory equipment the same for all the races?
The list of obligatory equipment is listed in the Regulations for the UTMB® / CCC® / TDS® / OCC. It is identical for all the runners in the UTMB®, CCC® or TDS®. Adjustments were made for the runners of the OCC.
The list of obligatory equipment for the PTL® is different; you can find the list here.
Will the obligatory equipment be checked? If so, when?
The obligatory equipment will be checked at the race-bib distribution, it may also be checked during the race. It is your responsibility to keep it all with you, throughout the entire race.
What do I risk if I do not have my obligatory equipment with me?
The commissaires de course (race-stewards) are present at the start of the races and at various points along the race routes and are equipped to check your obligatory equipment. In the case of lack of a piece of equipment for your safety – no water reservoir of a minimum volume of 1l, no jacket, no torch or no survival blanket – immediate disqualification. It is not a punishment but a measure of prevention to avoid a situation in which you could be in danger.
Mobile/ cell telephone
Why does my phone need to have the « international » roaming option?
The race takes place in 3 countries, so « international » roaming is obligatory so that you can be contacted or you can call in case of a problem.
My telephone does not have « international » roaming, what should I do?
You must contact your telephone company and ask to have your account temporarily changed to add this option which will allow you to make calls and receive calls or text (SMS) messages abroad. If this option is not possible, you should borrow your companion/ child/ friend’s phone if one of them has the option, for the duration of the race. In this case, we can change the telephone number on your registration form even on the day of the race. All that we ask, is that we have the right number so that we can contact you in case of a problem before the race (change of start time, weather alert) or during the race (if you haven’t passed a check point, a change to the time barriers due to the weather, etc.).
What is the number to call in case of emergency?
The number for the race HQ is +33 4 50 53 47 51. It will also be given to you in the special « Security» newsletter during the summer and it will be written on your race-bib.
Why must I keep my phone turned on during the race?
In case the race is stopped, keep your phone turned on so that you receive information concerning the race. The organisation must be able to contact you in any circumstances, which includes before and after the race, in the case of bad conditions or for any unforeseen circumstances. For those who think that they will be disturbed by it ringing during the race, put it on silent and only keep the “alert text message” signal.
I have changed my telephone number, what do I do to give you the new one?
Check that the number which you have given us on your registration form is still the one that you intend to use during the race. You can check and change this number yourself, if necessary, on your registration form at www.ultratrailmb.com.
Can I charge the battery for my phone during the race?
It will not be possible to charge telephones at the refreshment posts so the phone must be charged before the race begins. It is highly recommended to minimise the use of your telephone during the race, de-activate all the unnecessary options such as Bluetooth and 3G.
Any complementary advice?
You can put your telephone in a waterproof bag to avoid it getting wet if the weather is bad.
There are telephones which are water, shock and dust proof (normeIP57), with a great autonomy.
Register the emergency numbers in your telephone: SOS ALERT: France 112, Italy 118, and Switzerland 144.
Personal beaker minimum 15cl (water bottles excluded)
What is this beaker for?
So as to prevent wastage by using disposable plastic cups during the race, each runner must be equipped with a beaker of a minimum volume of 15cl in order to be served with drinks at the refreshment posts.
Can I use a non conventional beaker, like a juice carton?
Basically yes, certain runners find this to be an easy solution, very lightweight, and ultra compact in a pocket. It is necessary however to check that that base of the carton is solid enough, to last for the duration of the race and not fall to pieces due to being manipulated and that it resists heat so that you can drink soup.
Water reservoir minimum 1 litre
Why must I have a reserve of 1 litre of water?
Our races take place in semi-autonomy; there are neither refreshment posts, nor drinking fountains each kilometre so you must be autonomous between refreshment posts. You must also be autonomous in case of a problem, having sufficient water to re-hydrate yourself while waiting for help to arrive.
Two working torches with spare batteries for both of them.
Why are 2 torches obligatory? Is one torch not enough?
No, one torch is not sufficient, you must have a spare in case the first torch breaks, or stops working etc..
Do I need spare batteries for both torches?
May I throw the used batteries away at refreshment posts?
Yes! At each refreshment post you will find a box for used batteries. If you can’t find it ask the volunteers!
Will there be people along the route who can help me if I have a problem with one of my torches?
Yes, our partner Petzl will be present at the refreshment posts of Les Chapieux and Trient (UTMB® and CCC®), and at the refreshment post at Les Contamines (TDS®), for assistance with torches: replacing used batteries or problems with their functioning.
Survival blanket of 1.40m x 2m minimum
How is a survival blanket useful when there are rescue posts along the route?
The blanket gives protection from the cold, heat, rain, humidity and wind, in the case of a problem or injury along the route, while waiting for help.
How do I use my survival blanket?
The sides of survival blanket are different, generally one side golden and the other silver.
When the golden surface is the outer side, it protects from the cold (because it conserves the person’s heat, so that they keep themselves warm).
When the golden surface is inside, it protects from the heat (for example from the sun because the silver side reflects the sun’s rays).
So that it works well, the blanket must totally envelop the subject. In fact, the smallest gap allows the wind to enter inside and the blanket is then of no use. It is normally only possible to use a survival blanket once.
Please refer to the instructions given with the blanket.
Why have a whistle?
The whistle is useful if you fall in to a ravine. You might only be a few metres from the path but nobody would see you. The sound of the whistle carries better than the voice. Runners nearby would be able to hear you and come and help you. The whistle can also be useful in fog if you are lost.
Self-adhesive elasticised band usable as a bandage or for strapping (100 cm x 6 cm min)
For what use?
If you are injured along the route, and you are alone, without a network, you must use the strapping to help you get to the nearest rescue point by your own means.
There are refreshment posts along the route, why do I need food reserves?
Our races are run in semi-autonomy; there are not refreshment posts every kilometre so you must be autonomous between one refreshment post and the next. You must also be self-sufficient in case of a problem or injury, have enough to give you energy until help arrives.
And what should I take? How much?
Take whatever you like, that which you normally eat during a race. You could take a few cereal bars for example. Certain runners prefer salty foods, like bread or cheese.
If I need to eat my food reserve, can I stock up on cereal bars at the refreshment posts to stay within the regulations?
Yes, you can take a few cereal bars in your pack before restarting your race. Pay attention and don’t leave your wrappers on the ground! Keep all wrappers until the following refreshment post where you will find rubbish bins.
What are the refreshments?
2 types of refreshments are on offer:
- Refreshment posts with only drinks: plain water, sparkling water, energising drink, cola, coffee, tea and noodle soup.
- Full refreshments : drinks (as above), cereal or energising bars, cake, bananas, chocolate, oranges, raisins, prunes, salty biscuits, cheese, salami and bread.
Moreover, a hot dish is on offer a Les Chapieux and Courmayeur for the UTMB®, at Champex for the UTMB® and the CCC® and at Le Cormet de Roselend for the TDS®.
The race guide and the relevant pages on the web-site give the detailed list of the refreshment posts.
Hooded jacket with a waterproof membrane (minimum 10 000 Schmerber advisable) and breathable (RET advisable inferior to 13) which stands up to bad weather in the mountains
What do « Schmerber » and « RET » mean?
The Schmerber is a unit of measure of the impermeability of a textile.
The RET index (Resistance Evaporation Transfer) measures the capacity of a fabric to let water vapour generated by the body (perspiration) escape. The RET being an indication of resistance, the weaker it is the more it indicates that the garment is breathing.
The label on my jacket says 5 000 Schmerber. You advise a minimum of 10 000 Schmerber. Will my jacket do?
Theoretically yes, your jacket can conform to our obligatory equipment. However, in bad weather conditions, it seems to us that this jacket will not be sufficient enough to resist heavy rain or snow throughout the totality of the race.
Is there a list of jackets which conform to the regulation?
No, because the number of jackets is too great.
Trousers or long running leggings or the combination of leggings and socks which totally cover the leg
I usually run in shorts, even in the rain, am I obliged to take something which completely covers my legs?
Is the combination of shorts –compression socks suitable?
Your knees must be covered. So you must combine running leggings which cover the knee with socks which cover the calf or a pair of “cyclist” which cover the thigh and with leg warmers which cover the knee.
Additional warm second layer: a piece of warm clothing with long sleeves (not cotton) of a minimum weight of 180g (men’s size M)
OR a combination of warm underwear with long sleeves (first or second layer, not cotton) of a minimum weight of 110g (man’s size M) and a wind proof* jacket with a durable water-proof coating (DWR protection)
I haven’t really understood; please could you explain it to me?
Even in August, it can be very cold; you therefore need to have a piece of warm clothing in which to run your race. We will let you choose between:
Option n°1: 1 piece of warm clothing with long sleeves
Option n°2 : 1 piece of clothing or underwear (a little lighter than option n°1) + a water proof wind proof jacket (water resistant).
Option n° 1 suits most runners, however in bad weather conditions, Option n° 2 allows you to have something warm, lighter and more flexible.
And realistically, what do I take?
It all depends on your race habits, your resistance to the cold etc.. Profit from winter to complete you equipment, thick thermal underwear is well suited.
Option 1: a micro-fleece, a thermal garment
Option 2: thermal underwear, a thick long-sleeved tee shirt+ a wind proof jacket (no constraints of schmerber or RET)
Can the wind proof jacket in this part of the obligatory equipment replace the hooded jacket mentioned above?
No the hooded jacket can not be replaced by the wind-proof jacket.
You said « a minimum weight 180g « (men’s size M), does this mean I have to wear a men’s size M?
No you don’t have to wear a man’s size M! The 180g demonstrates an example of the weight, to give you a reference. If you wear an XS your garment will weigh less than if you take an XL, when your garment will be heavier.
My idea is to leave wearing a long-sleeved tee shirt of 100g and another of 140g ( the 2 may be worn on top of each other if necessary = 240g for size S), will this combination be accepted to replace the garment of 180g?
Yes, this solution is acceptable.
Cap, bandana or equivalent
You must have some form of head covering to protect your head when it is hot and sunny.
If I already have a bandana, am I obliged to have a hat as well?
Yes the cap or bandana is for protection against the sun. But when it is bad weather, snowy or windy you must have hat which protects you from the cold.
I usually wear a BUFF® (a long neck warmer), which serves for all uses in one. Could you tell me whether a BUFF® on its own is possible, rather than a cap or hat?
The hat is obligatory and can not be replaced by a BUFF®, unless the BUFF® is made of fleece. In this case, the fleece BUFF® can not be seen as protection against the sun.
Gloves, both warm and waterproof
The only waterproof gloves which exist are big ski gloves, and I have no desire to run with big ski gloves on my hands, what should I do?
Our minimum requirement is that the gloves are water-resistant or even better water-proof.
Is it alright if only the upper of my gloves is water –proof?
No, the gloves need to be water-resistant underneath on the palm, the underneath should not be of very fine material, you will have wet hands above all if you use walking poles.
I already own warm gloves which serve me well when running and I don’t want to have to buy a new pair of gloves, what should I do?
You can combine a warm glove with a water-proof over-glove or mitten (rubber gloves for household duties are accepted). Like this you have a choice depending upon the weather conditions; warm or waterproof or both. And for the most part this is the cheapest option. Several articles are available on the internet.
Profit from the winter and see if you can find something to suit you in the cross country skiing section for example.
Water-proof over trousers
Does this over trouser replace the need for trousers or running leggings?
No, the water-proof over-trousers are in addition to the trousers or running leggings.
If the weather forecasts fine weather, is it still obligatory to take the water-proof over-trousers?
Yes the weather conditions change very fast in the mountains, and we know through experience that weather conditions evolve. One must expect everything in the mountains.
Are there technical constraints as for the hooded jacket?
No, the choice is yours, so long as the trousers are water-proof, that is all which is required.
Where do I find them?
The Internet has a large choice of water-proof trousers, or the walking section of your sports shop. Over-trousers for the rain used on the motor-bike are suitable.