Home Sport A music store, the fire in the tunnel, the Kilian phenomenon …...

A music store, the fire in the tunnel, the Kilian phenomenon … the history of the UTMB, the most important race in the world

A music store, the fire in the tunnel, the Kilian phenomenon ... the history of the UTMB, the most important race in the world

The Extremely Path of Mont Blanc, the 170-kilometer mountain check that each one runners need to run, returns this Friday with the gun of its director, Catherine Poletti, who began actually by chance

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“Over the years I have learned that this week I have to sleep at least five hours a night because if not then my head does not work. It is difficult, but I get it,” he admits. Catherine Poletti to EL MUNDO, though he doesn’t know the place he will get the time between deliveries of numbers, presentation of athletes, promotional occasions, solidarity occasions and, above all, races, many mountain races, as much as seven, with a very powerful on this planet, the Extremely Mont Blanc Path (UTMB), 170 kilometers, because the epicenter this Friday.

In Chamonix, on the foot of Mont Blanc, the very best peak within the Alps, Poletti nearly twenty years in the past started the fever for path working and, there it continues, receiving the ten,000 runners who every version crowd to register – “en 2008 the numbers were sold out in eight minutes “- they usually have run the earlier races that the UTMB calls for. He leads a crew of dozens of individuals, generates an impression of tens of tens of millions for the territory and it began by chance. Actually by chance.

In March 1999, the driving force of a automobile threw a cigarette butt out the window in the course of the Mont Blanc tunnel, it entered by means of the air filter of a truck carrying flour and margarine and the sluggish fireplace that triggered killed 39 folks. The tunnel was closed for 3 years. And the locals, like Poletti and her husband Michel, they needed to go across the highest mountain within the European Union repeatedly, repeatedly.

“Michel and I studied computer science in Grenoble and we didn’t want to go to live in Paris, where there were more jobs, so we decided to open a music store in Chamonix. I had been a pianist, my family is made up of musicians, so it seemed like a good idea. One day, after the tunnel fire, we talked with some friends about recovering a race that was already being done, the return to Montblanc, but through the mountains, not on asphalt as before. And so the UTMB was born. It was 2003, we thought that 300 people would sign up and 700 came. Michel, who was a runner, was in charge of the sporting part and I had to do the organizational part, “recollects Poletti, at the moment president of the UTMB Group, together with her whole household concerned: her husband Michel continues to be a director , his daughter Isabelle is the present director of the race and her son David He runs a associated timing firm, Stay Path.

The Kilian Jornet phenomenon

All skilled the fast growth of the race, which already in 2005 bought out its 5,000 numbers seven months upfront, and the looks in 2008 of the one that’s nonetheless its reference at the moment, Kilian JornetThough just one member of the household, David, suffered the latter particularly. “By regulation until the age of 20 you cannot participate in the UTMB and when he turned 20, in 2008, my son enrolled in the race. He asked me: ‘Do you think I will win my age?’ And no, the truth is that he did not win. Another 20-year-old boy was a bit faster, “Poletti recollects sarcastically. The Jornet phenomenon, which exploded that 12 months, modified every part, the UTMB, path working and even style within the mountains.

Catherine Poletti, President of the UTMB Group

With the Spanish as an icon and the race as a dream, many had been hooked and all did it as he did: with more and more quick footwear, with the brand new vests, with very, very mild pants, T-shirts or jackets. “For me that is the main change, in addition to the number of runners. Now there are more, they are younger and, above all, they are more prepared. In the early years trail running was very rustic. Men came, many times over 40 or 50 years old, with their beards and not very technical clothes. Change is a matter for Kilian, yes, but also for Salomon. And it is not the brand that sponsors the race. [lo es Columbia], but I must admit that they were the first to innovate in our field “, concludes the president of the UTMB Group, who has now launched into an bold path.

Years in the past, to attempt to fulfill the numerous runners who keep out of the UTMB yearly, he created a factors system, ITRA factors, which solely allowed entry to those that had a superb historical past of earlier races. Many of the path occasions world wide, massive, medium and small, had been hit for distributing the ITRA factors that allowed entry to the UTMB and runners seemed for them like gold. However that’s over.

This 12 months UTMB has teamed up with one other related firm, Ironman, to arrange a sequence of its personal exams world wide that, in the long run, will result in the queen check round Montblanc. In Spain, for the time being, there is just one, the Val d’Aran by UTMB, however in response to Poletti admits there’ll quickly be one other and the community, sooner reasonably than later, can be made up of about 40 races. Path working was, is and can be his factor. And it began by chance.