Even the best runners are not sheltered from injury which may immobilize them during the night, in the cold under snow, or rain in the midst of the mountains. However, do not forget that various hazards, linked to the environment and the race, could mean that you have to wait longer for help than you might expect. So as to evolve through your race in good conditions, here is our safety advices.
Environment & weather
The UTMB® races are all races which take place in open country, in mountainous terrain, with some remote areas (roads, telecommunications…) with weather conditions which can change very fast even at the end of August (snow, hail, fog, heat (>30°) or intense cold (<-10°), violent wind).
Advice along the route:
Do not stop at high points
If you lose sight of the way-markers: turn round and go back to the previous marker
Stay on the paths
Quelques rappels de bon sens pour faire face à une météo difficile :
Some common sense reminders for facing difficult weather conditions:
Anticipate the cold as well as extreme heat
Don’t wait to shiver before covering yourself up
Don’t change in full wind: anticipate or wait to be sheltered
Protect yourself against the sun
Walking poles: watch what you do with your poles particularly at the beginning of the race when there is a high human density. Do not wear the wrist straps on the descents: in case of a rough fall wrist-straps prevent the suitable use of the hands (injuries to shoulders, wrists, forearm or more seriously the head)
Eating & drinking
Hydration and the consumption of energising snacks must be adapted to the meteorological conditions and enriched in salt throughout the effort. Keep a good balance between slow and rapid release sugars. Find our health advices on www.utmbmontblanc.com
Fatigue & vigilance
Rest areas are available at refreshment posts for a few moments sleep. It is dangerous to stop to sleep alone in open country. Fatigue and the lack of vigilance can be the cause of an accident. Run within your limits (above all over the first part) keeping your energy for later to surmount difficult situations which may arise such as a sudden change of weather conditions.
OBLIGATORY INDIVIDUAL INSURANCE
We would like to remind you that it is obligatory to be in possession of individual accident insurance which covers any eventual costs for search and rescue In France, Italy and Switzerland. (Repatriation by helicopter costs between 800 and 3000 euros). Such an insurance policy may be taken out with the organization of your choice. For those runners who are members of the ITRA it is now possible to subscribe to an Assistance -Repatriation insurance which will cover any search and rescue costs world-wide. More information at www.itra.run
The app is an interface reference for your security, while at the same time giving you precious information about the race (follow your race and that of your friends in real time). In the case of SOS, this function sends, via text message, your GPS position to the organization. This represents a precious time gain in getting help to you. Attention however, it will not be a substitute for phoning the race HQ (PC Course)
A mobile/cell phone is mandatory:
With the international optional activated throughout the duration of the race, with the battery in working order. In no circumstances put your phone in airplane mode because we need to be able to contact you before, during and after the event. Smartphones are highly recommended for using the LiveRun by LiveTrail® app which is indispensable for your safety. For runners who are going to be running for more than 15 hours, an external battery is strongly recommended.
Check that the number that you have given us as an emergency contact number is that of the person who you wish to be contacted in the case of a problem.
Very important: In order to improve any medical intervention in the case of an incident, verify that you have submitted, on your runners’ page, the telephone number that you will be using during the race. You can update it until the start of your race.
Safety in the mountains
A word from Christophe Boloyan, High Mountain guide and director of the Chamoniarde.
The Chamoniarde is a society concerned with the prevention and safety in the mountains whose mission is to develop information, training and prevention on safety in the Mont-Blanc massif. It also coordinates, in certain conditions, the means of rescue on the Chamonix territory. It collaborates actively with the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® in the development of security during all of the races.
UTMB - Safety and obligatory equipment (english) par UltraTrailMontBlanc
What are the principles of safety in the mountains ?
« Each runner is responsible for their own safety. In the mountains, autonomy is a key notion which must always take priority over that of the competition. To be autonomous, it is essential to take care of one's own health and know how to self-assess. Think about eating and drinking regularly. Be attentive to symptoms which could a warning: nausea, difficulty in urinating, blood in the urine, tachycardia, hypothermia or hyperthermia. In the case of a problem, ask yourself the question: am I able to get to the next refreshment post without putting my health in danger? In the case of being unable to continue, call the race HQ on +33 4 50 53 47 51, or the emergency number 112. Be aware that even if the organisation has developed a successful and complete plan to help to guarantee the safety of competitors on all the race routes, various hazards connected to the mountain environment or the race may keep you waiting for help for longer than anticiapted. »
What do you think about the obligatory material required by the organisation of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® ?
« All the obligatory material listed in the regulations as well as the additional material which is recommended by the UTMB® organisation is useful. There is nothing superfluous. In the mountains the weather conditions change very fast and these changes are not always foreseeable in advance. At the end of August at 2000m altitude, the temperature can descend to -10°, it can snow heavily or hail. Two pieces of practical advice: if you use your survival blanket, put it under your clothes and not over them and think about protecting your dry clothes in your pack by wrapping them in plastic. »
What to do when confronted by a runner who is injured or in difficulty ?
«Solidarity is an essential value in the mountains. Assisting a runner who is injured or in difficulty is an absolute must. If you meet a person in difficulty, speak to them, ask them how they feel, give the alert and stay with them until help arrives.»
In case of a problem, what is the correct way to give the alert?
«The location of the victim and the nature of their problem or injury are the import pieces of information for the rescuers. To help you give a relatively precise location, and help the work of the rescue teams, there are reference points all along the race route (around every thirty minutes for the slower runners). These markers are composed of a colour, a letter and a figure. If you are in difficulty, you need to sate the last reference that you passed. These markers are conceived in such a way that even if you only remember one of the three elements, it allows us to reduce the search perimeter. According to the organisation's regulations, you must, obligatorily, have a mobile/cell phone with international roaming and a fully charged battery with you. To save your battery, think about de-activating the options such as bluetooth® and 3G functions.»
And performance ?
Other than your safety, your performance will be optimal if you have adequate material. How can you open a zip when your fingers are numb with cold? Good light at night appreciably diminishes the sense of tiredness. A serious loss or excess of heat are sources of wasted energy... Save the maximum amount of energy for running !