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Running the Mont Blanc Marathon Weekend

The Mont Blanc marathon weekend consists of 8 races over a weekend in Chamonix around the Mont Blanc mountain range. These races range from a Virtical kilometer to a 10k to a 90k distance and all the races include an impressive amount of elevation. Yet with elevation, comes epic views, especially when you are racing around the Mont Blanc Massif. If you are a runner, this weekend is something to put on that bucket list. Our very own Ronhill Runner, Harriet Krarup, recently run both the 10k and half marathon. Below, she shares her unique experience, running this breath-taking course through her own words.

"My complete fascination and obsession with this weekend started three years ago when I first moved to Chamonix France from the UK and saw that one of the hardest marathons in the world took place right outside my front door. I was lucky enough to get a ballot place and I took part in the Mont Blanc Marathon 2021 consisting of 2500m+ of elevation. I have completed my fair share of marathons including London twice, Manchester and also Ironman Wales which consisted of a Marathon around Tenby at the end, however, I could quite comfortably say that the Marathon du Mont Blanc pushed me to my limit the most. It was challenging yet epic, it is accurately described as a ‘Breath-taking battle’.  

It was during this race that I knew I had to create a career for myself that involved encouraging people, who may not usually think they were capable of doing something as ‘extra ordinary’ and as challenging as a Mountain race, to participate in these epic challenges. The races are incredibly rewarding but it’s also the training and everything in-between clicking that ‘sign up’ button that make these experiences, that ‘finish line feeling,’ so special. 

Since that race I have trained to become a personal trainer and running coach and it is my absolute passion in life to encourage as many people as I possibly can to believe in themselves enough to sign up to challenge themselves. The Mont Blanc Marathon weekend has become a real focal point and I have had the privilege the last two years to train and coach many people for this particular weekend in all difference races.  

This year, between my client’s, they completed the vertical kilometre, the 10kilomter race, the half marathon, the Duo Etoile (a nigh time half marathon) and the marathon. Inscriptions were in November, and training started in January. Everyone had a tailor made training plan and we were all in a group together to keep motivation and dedication high whilst sharing the highs and the lows of training, together.  

As to be expected, we had injuries, sickness, doubts, worries, personal bests, strava local legends and everything in between. However, the weekend came around and the sun shone, everyone made it to Chamonix and we had an unforgettable weekend, full of emotion, mainly excitement and pride.  

It started on the Friday night with the Vertical Kilometre race, starting at 5pm on Friday evening from the Church in the centre of town, you run the road to the bottom of the Brevant Gondola which then zig zags directly under the tramway ending in an aerial via ferrata (not recommended for people with vertigo) steps, cables, pedals, handrails... with an arrival at 2000m.  

Next up, we had an early start for the 23km and the 10km race to cheer on our runners who were taking part and also to get us fired up and ready to take on the Etoile starting at 7.30 that evening. This was the race that I took part in myself with three of my runners. This race you have to complete in pairs due to safety reasons as the race takes part under the stars at night on mountain trails between 1000 and 2200m high. However, the team aspect of this race makes it even more magical. I am a huge believer in experiences are better shared and this race quite literally leaves stars in your eyes.  

The four of us managed to stay together for the entire race which took us five hours and consisted of many ups and downs including altitude sickness, falls, stumbles and trips and enough coke and orange segments to last a lifetime. All finishing just after midnight with very tired legs but very happy hearts. 

The weekend was rounded up with the highlight event on the Sunday, the Mont Blanc Marathon. I just had one client who was lucky enough to get into this race and despite the 30 degree heat, she absolutely smashed it.  

The team aspect of this entire weekend has stolen our hearts and nearly all of us are planning our race to take on next year. When you can fully immerse yourself in the energy and atmosphere of a race, you can fully appreciate the experience. The race, the ‘finish line feeling’ I always talk about is your reward for the months of dedication put in to complete these races. I always tell my children that nothing great comes easily and it is the same for a race, you can’t full appreciate a race without putting in the hard work before, the harder you work, the bigger the reward. Every single one of my client’s were able to do this and I am exceptionally proud of every single one."

Here's to next year. Which one are you going to choose?