Back to the roots, back to the mountains – UTMR Route

I’m sat on the plane to Geneva. Had only 3 hours sleep; work and last minute packing  and life admin came first. As usual. 

I’m sat on the plan to Geneva. Not for business, nor for family or beach holiday. I’m going to pay a visit to my mountains. It’s been a long time. 

I’m sat on the plane to Geneva. With little training in my legs I’m nervous. Work and PT course have taken priority this year. I haven’t done enough long runs and races; I feel undertrained. 

I’m sat on the plane to Geneva. I’m not flying to go to a conference, give s talk or organise an event. This time I’m flying to do what I love the most – running. 4 days of pure joy in the Swiss and Italian mountains.

I’m sat on the plane to Geneva. Tomorrow Lizzy Hawker, a few other trail runners and I will set off on our 4 day journey. We are following the path of the UTMR race, a race that didn’t exist but Lizzy always wanted to run. And so she decided to create it. 

”I did long back-to-back days on the Monte Rosa route while training for UTMB, and thought, If I was to have a race…”

I’m sat on the plane to Geneva and can’t stop thinking about the fact that I’m going to be running the race route ‘designed’ by a pro – by an Ultra trail running legend, 5 time UTMB winner and world record holder! Holly Molly… 
I can’t wait – excitement is an understatement.

I’m sat on the plane to Geneva and I’m looking at the race profile – Ultra Tour Monte Rosa looks stunning and hard at the same time. In fact, the 2017 edition will be harder than the iconic UTMB! The main challenge – brutal elevation. 


UTMR = 116K & 7500m ascent beneath awe-inspiring 4000m summits including the iconic MATTERHORN!

Photographer and writer Alex Roddie hiked the Tour de Monte Rosa back in 2015 and said this;

“The Tour du Mont Blanc is a very popular long-distance hike in the Alps, looping around Mont Blanc, but the circumnavigation of Monte Rosa is less frequented. Both routes are approximately 100 miles in length. However, the relative unpopularity of the TMR – and its more severe elevation profile, featuring numerous major ascents and descents – make this route the more serious proposition.

Wish us luck, strong legs and spirit. 

Bon courage! 

And if you decide to run it, you can – come and run with Lizzy this September

Lenka Istvanova

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