The warm weather has brought the lycra warriors out of hibernation and summer race training has now begun in earnest.
Many people have kept fitness levels up by various winter sports such as snowshoeing, ski touring, dancing on the tables at apres-ski, but nothing quite hits the spot like the first proper trail run or bike ride of the season.
Summer in Chamonix is jam-packed with sporting events, attracting amateur and pro athletes from all over the world. Even if you have no intention of taking part yourself, they’re fun to watch and Chamonix town buzzes with excitement during the bigger events.
Asics Beat the Sun, 21st June 2016
On the longest day of the year, 48 runners will line up to “Beat the Sun” in a race against time, starting in Chamonix. 24 professional athletes and 24 amateurs will attempt to run all the way round Mont Blanc in 8 relay teams and finish before the sun goes down. The amateur runners will not only get to be a part of this exciting event but will also have their flights, accommodation, running gear and various other expenses paid for by Asics. You can enter your name in the draw to take part by visiting the Asics website > Asics Beat the Sun
Marathon du Mont Blanc, 24th-26th June 2016
The first marathon on the agenda is the Marathon du Mont Blanc, a weekend of races including the classic marathon distance of 42km, a half marathon of 23km, an ultra marathon of 80km, a short but challenging 10km circuit, and the Vertical KM - a hell-for-leather dash straight up the side of Brevent to the Plan Praz lift station. This is a really well-supported event and everyone turns out to cheer as the runners go past the various aid stations. If you are spectating then Vallorcine is a good place to watch from, as there is always a good turnout and usually some entertainment in the form of live music, clowns and dancers. You get to watch the runners attack their first big climb as they head up towards the Col de Balme, while you enjoy a nice drink at the Café Comptoir. Marathon du Mont Blanc
Trail du Tour des Fiz, 31st July 2016
The Trail du Tour des Fiz is a stunningly beautiful but incredibly tough circuit around the remote plateau above Passy. There are 3 options - Le Tour des Fiz Huit Refuges (61km/5000m), Le Tour des Fiz Cinq Refuges (30km/2300m) or the Balcon des Fiz (22km/1500m). You’ll pass deep gorges, crashing waterfalls, crystal clear lakes and see some of the best views of your life - this is also prime territory for spotting usually shy wildlife such as marmots and chamois. The scenery is incredible and the aid stations are all staffed by cheery locals at quaint mountain refuges but the terrain is definitely on the challenging side of fun, with lots of ascent and descent crammed into relatively short distances. Trail du Tour des Fiz
Mont Blanc Triathlon International, 19th-21st August 2016
It might sound a bit intimidating but the Mont Blanc Triathlon is actually quite a fun and friendly event that is open to everyone, including complete amateurs. There are various different distances to enter from sprint (750m swim, 22km bike, 5km run) to the bizarrely named “Mont Blanc Man” (1900m swim, 85km bike, 20km run), all of which can be done as an individual or as a relay team. All the action centres around Lac du Passy, which is a great spot for picnics and BBQs in the sunshine. Again, there’s a great turn-out every year and a really fun ambience. Mont Blanc Triathlon International
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, 22nd-28th August 2016
This is the big daddy of them all, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. One of the world’s most iconic ultra marathons, this race is on the bucket list of many a trail runner. Circumnavigating the foot of Mont Blanc, the route passes through France, Italy and Switzerland, covering 170km and tackling 10,000m of ascent along the way. If that sounds like too much to bite off, then there are three shorter versions that cover some of the same ground - the TDS (119km), the CCC (101km) and the OCC (55km). Believe it or not, there is an even longer race for really keen beans, the PTL (290km), which must be carried out in teams of two. Last year saw the addition of the YCC, a “youth” trail race of 15km for runners aged 16-22, that takes place in Courmayeur. The races are spread out over a week, during which time you will see runners in various states ranging from jubilant to destroyed, staggering through the centre of town aiming their knackered feet at the finish line in Place du Triangle de l’Amitié - give them a cheer, they’ve earned it. Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
Evergreen Endurance Triathlon, 10th-11th September 2016
Although it may not have official Ironman accreditation, the Evergreen Endurance Triathlon aims to be one of the toughest in the world, as well as one of the “greenest”. Their motto of “hammer the race, leave no trace” is testament to their determination to organise a monster of an event that makes as little impact on the environment as possible. There are three races to choose from; Evergreen 58 (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 12.5km run), Evergreen 118 (2km swim, 95km bike, 21km run) or Evergreen 228 (4km swim, 181km bike, 43km run). The routes stretch between Montriond and Chamonix passing through some of the roughest, toughest and most beautiful terrain in the Savoie region along the way. Evergreen Endurance Triathlon
Trail des Aiguilles Rouges, 25th September 2016
The last trail race of the season is the Trail des Aiguilles Rouges, a lively 50km jaunt along the highest points of the valley between Vallorcine and Servoz. The route changes each year, keeping regular participants quite literally on their toes, but it always includes some thigh burning climbs and long brutal descents. On the upside, you get free tartiflette and cake if you finish. Trail des Aiguilles Rouges
For more summer events take a look at our what's on calendar.
Location: Chamonix / Mont Blanc Valley