The start of the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France looked more like an 800m track race than a 100-mile trail ultramarathon. The event kicked off at 6:30 p.m. local time and tours Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.

Some runners who lined up at the front of the pack took a few steps before the countdown finished and hesitated. Then, the more than 2,300 entrants followed.

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C'EST PARTI!! #UTMB pic.twitter.com/6xTnZ1sIvJ

— Distances+ (@distancesplus) September 1, 2017

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYgkkTShCIH/

One of the more-relaxed runners off the line was Kilian Jornet, one of the favourite in the men’s race, who was filming action from his phone. He is coming off notable wins at the Mont Blanc Marathon and the Hardrock 100.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYgitsnHP7h/

Canadian Running‘s coverage of the 2017 UTMB

Alissa St Laurent hopes second time’s a charm at the 2017 UTMB
How to qualify for UTMB racing in Canada
Cancer-beating Canadian takes on world’s most famous, and daunting, ultra
Top Quebec ultrarunner’s big-time mileage ahead of toughest race of his life
Interactive course map and elevation profile feature
How to follow the 2017 UTMB (live stream included)
I retired from the Canadian Armed Forces with a serious knee injury. This year I’m running up mountains at the UTMB

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc