Organizers of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc announced on Friday that their ultramarathon will be back this year after missing 2020 due to COVID-19. The storied ultramarathon features multiple events, including the classic 171K UTMB race that takes athletes around Mont Blanc and through parts of France, Italy and Switzerland. Race organizers were able to confirm the running of the event after the French government released its latest COVID-19 guidelines, and it is officially locked in for August 23 to 29.
While the race is set to run later this year, there will be COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines in place for all racers. Like most mass participation races that have been held since the start of the pandemic, masks will be mandatory at the start and finish lines, and racers will be asked to wear them when they approach aid stations along the route. They will also be required to wash their hands as they pass through, and there will be no self-service at aid stations, which will help avoid the potential spreading of germs from each runner.
The race start will also feature waves, and crowds will be limited along the course. The number of spectators permitted may vary throughout the route, though, as it will be dependant on the rules of each town, region and country that runners pass through on the course. There will reportedly be other restrictions in place, but organizers have yet to finalize all of the details.
There’s also the matter of travel restrictions, which the race of course cannot control. The French government is set to introduce a “Sanitary Pass” on June 9, and this will allow outsiders from other European countries to visit France. For Canadians and other non-Europeans, organizers said the Sanitary Pass details are still being figured out, but they will keep all potential UTMB racers in the loop as the matter progresses.
Sanitary Passes will be mandatory for everyone participating in any French events of more than 1,000 people, and it requires individuals to have one of three things: proof of full vaccination, a recent negative COVID-19 test or a certificate of COVID-19 recovery. Anyone who does not qualify for a Sanitary Pass will be unable to get their bib ahead of the race.