Covid-19: 2020 UTMB® Mont-Blanc is cancelled

May 20, 2020

After having carefully examined all the options in compliance with the government’s regulations, but also after having consulted with the runners, local authorities and partners, the UTMB® Mont-Blanc organization team regrets to announce that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition, which was scheduled to take place from August 24 to 31, has been cancelled.

This decision was also taken after consultation with the UTMB® Mont-Blanc Medical Committee, and it was deemed the most responsible action to preserve the health and safety of all involved. This includes 10,000 runners from 111 countries, the 100,000 visitors and inhabitants of the Mont-Blanc regions, the 500 service providers, the 60 partners and the 2,300 volunteers.

“In the mountains, we are familiar with risk and commitment. When the conditions are not right, it’s more reasonable to turn back and go home. Risk taking is part of our culture, as is knowing your limits. To give up is to show courage. When you give up an ascent, you know that there will be other opportunities to come back, when the conditions are right, when you are ready, when the storm is over.” explains Catherine Poletti, founder of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc.

Since its first edition in 2003, the UTMB® Mont-Blanc has become a unique experience: a mythical route around the highest peak of Europe, a race that crosses 3 countries and 18 municipalities, incorporating 7 events ranging from 300km to 15km for trail runners of all levels. It is an experience that is sought after by more than 32,000 runners who registered for a place through the lottery. By choosing to cancel the event, the organization acknowledges that it does not wish to offer runners an experience that does not live up to their dreams.

“Trail running is about meeting other people. It’s taking the time to chat at the aid station, it’s the freedom of movement. Because of the current situation, it has become difficult to organize races that offer this pleasure and these possibilities. We have of course imagined an event adjusted to the sanitary rules, with staggered starts, less runners and social distancing at the aid stations. In such conditions, the UTMB® Mont-Blanc would not be the one we know, and above all, the one each participant would like to experience. Taking part in the UTMB® Mont-Blanc implies a long process for runners, each of them expects to experience a full and satisfying race. Let’s be patient.” commented Michel Poletti, founder of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc.

By setting a date for next year, the organization wishes to show solidarity towards all of the runners who could not participate in the event this year because of the health, economic, social and territorial situation. The UTMB® Mont-Blanc would also like to express its support to its Swiss and Italian friends, co-organizers of the event, but also to all those involved in events and outdoor sports, who have also been hit hard by the pandemic.

In compliance with the regulations of the event, 2020 participants will benefit from a refund of 55% of the registration fees. Cancelling the event is a real financial risk for the organization, which has already incurred great expenses across all areas. The organization has updated its website to answer all the questions from the runners.

For each runner, participating in the event is an adventure they have been preparing for several years between training, qualifying points and the lottery. Runners will benefit from having a place reserved for them in the same race in either 2021, 2022 or 2023. An exceptional measure that guarantees more flexibility. Runners will receive the terms and conditions for this reserved place by email before the opening of the 2021 registrations. This also applies to runners competing with a charity bib.

Despite the cancellation of the 2020 edition, the UTMB® Mont-Blanc organization team is not giving up. The team is committed to mobilizing the global trail running community around a common cause. The final goal is to make the world a better place. UTMB® Mont-Blanc has something in store and we’ll be sharing it on its social networks.

The 19th edition of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc will take place from August 23 to 29, 2021 and will cross France, Italy and Switzerland.