Trail Running In The Châtel Area:

 

 

 

A Personal View...

Getting Addicted:

I'd hardly run a step since university (and then only ran a handful of times), so if someone had said just a few years ago, that my favourite sport would now involve running and hiking up mountains for fun, then I would have considered them to be mad. In fact, I got into the sport by chance, when my wife and several of her friends decided to take on a local trail race, partly to raise some money for charity. They entered the 23KM race at the first edition of the Trail des Cretes du Chablais which was scheduled for late June 2014. The race had around 2000m of ascent in it, so it was quite a challenge and the decision to take part was made at relatively short notice. They set about training for it, by hiking and jogging on the trails above Chatel, on routes such as those from Petit Chatel to the top of Barbossine, with steeper hiking training taking place on Linga. With some time on my hands that spring, I decided to join them on some of the hikes and enjoyed the experience. I probably had some sort of aerobic base from years of dog walking in Wales, the 3 Valleys and here in Chatel, so I didn't find the ascending aspect too bad and found my self enjoying it. However, I soon realised that hiking boots were not really the right footwear, so purchased a pair of 40 euro trail shoes from Decathlon and started to do a bit more running - starting on the flats and descents. Bad weather in late May / early June of that year mant that an early recce of the course was curtailed by deep snow higher up. The girls eventually managed to get a recce of a good chunk of the course and then I did a solo recce of the whole route a couple of weeks before the race. It was tougher than I expected and, at the time, was the hardest thing I had ever done in terms of physical activity.
Come race day at Vacheresse and the weather was hot, however, all the girls completed the course, despite a few hiccups on the way, including a bad fall for Shez, my wife. I had never been to a race like this before and was fascinated by just about everything about it, including the state of some of the competitors who were finishing the various races. I decided on that day that i wanted to do one of these races.

 

So started an addiction to trail running...

 

Fun & Accessible On So Many Levels:

Trail running in the mountains is accessible to anyone who can walk and perhaps jog just a little. A relatively easly way to start is to simply walk up an incline and gently jog back down - choosing a not too steep desent to prevent the legs from getting a battering (it's the downhills which often cause post exercise leg soreness when you are not used to them).

 

This is how I started... by hiking up and jogging down. As my fitness grew, I found I could jog more of the ups and go a bit faster on the downs. I then found I could do this for longer. For me, the progression continued towards doing races, but many people don't want to race and just want to enjoy the mountains.

 

Resources:

There is a huge amount of information online regarding the sport along with training tips.

Some of the resources we use include:

- Sage Canaday VO2 max productions - a great resource from this great mountain runner.

- Seth James Demoor Global Running & Daily Vlog - Seth is a double Pikes Peak marathon champion and great vlogger.

- IRunFar.com - huge resource

- Trail Runner Magazine - big resource. Worth the subscription for the many David Roche articles.

- Run4Adventure.co.uk - based in SW England, Loyd & Liga make some great vids - their 2021 UTMB recap is a good example.

- Dylan Bowman's Pyllars

- Run Steep Get High

 

Chatel Snow Report   Chatel Snow Report   Chatel Snow Report

Bossons Glacier 2021

PDS trail view

Summer 2021

 

Race History:

Each race has its own story, some of them good, some of them not so good, with the odd catastrophe thrown in for good measure - however, each one was a truly memorable experience. I have written some words about some of these (see link after those races) and I aim to write a bit more about some of these experiences when I get the chance... I have made some big mistakes in some of these races, mainly by not paying attention to hydtation and nutrition or setting off too hard... but amongst the wreckage of DNF's there are some performances that I feel proud about... high points include finishing a 125km race after getting lost moe than once, a sub 9 hour Trail Dents du Midi 59k and also getting a couple of ITRA scores above 600, which is pretty good for my age, however, I have probably peaked - so it may all be downhill from here. One thing for sure, is that these races have taken us to places we probably wouldn't have visited, met people we probably would never have met and seen sights to stick in the memory for life.


2015:
Trails des Cretes du Chablais 23km (1950m): 151st (out of 700 ish)
Trails haut Forts (43km / 3200m): Not quite in last place
Humani Trail 56km / 3500m ascent: 73rd overall out of 139 ITRA SCORE: 502 - My first "ultra" - I wrote some words after doing this race, when it was fashionable to write race reports! Click here.


2016:
Trails des Cretes du Chablais 42km (2900m): 80th (out of 293) ITRA SCORE: 526
Marathon du Mont Blanc 43km (2790m): 830th (out of 2045) ITRA SCORE: 488
Pen Llyn Ultra 125km (1920m): DNF


2017:
Trails des Cretes du Chablais 41km (2710m D+): 32nd (out of 246) ITRA SCORE: 593
Pen Llyn Ultra 125km (1920m D+): 39th (out of 42 finishers) ITRA SCORE 376


2018:
UTS Snowdonia 86km (5500m D+): DNF
Pen Llyn Ultra 125km (1920m D+): DNF
Moel Siabod Fell Race 9km (720m D+): 11th Scratch / 1st Over 50
Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon: 44km (1795m D+): 52nd out of 697 and 2nd Over 50.


2019:
Pen Llyn Ultra 125km (1920m D+): DNF
UTMB CCC 98km (6150m D+): DNF - race thoughts on this experience can be found by clicking here
Humani Trail Rhino: 27km (1850m D+): 14th Scratch (out of 364) 2nd over 50. ITRA SCORE 612
Defi du Jubile Marathon: 41km (1670m D+) 2nd Scratch (out of 32) 1st over 40. ITRA SCORE 591


2020:
Trail Dent Du Midi 59km (3900m D+): 67th (out of 331) ITRA SCORE 581
Defi du Jubile Marathon: 42km (1840m D+) 9th Scratch (out of 70) 1st over 40. ITRA SCORE 608


2021:
Eiger Trail E35: 36km (2400m D+): 53rd (out of 429) ITRA SCORE 567
UTMB MCC 40km (2300m D+): 197 (out of 929) ITRA SCORE 546

Humani Trail Rhono (1700m D+): 50th (out of 450) 4th in age group: ITRA SCORE 593

 

2022:

Entered Races: UTMB MCC Aug 2022

Potential Races: Trail des Cretes du Chablais (June 2022), Pen Llyn Ultra (July 2022), Humani Trail or Trail Dents du Midi (Sept 2022), Defis du Jubile (Oct 2022).

 

 

Chatel Snow Report   Chatel Snow Report   Chatel Snow Report

Start of Marathon du Mont Blanc

First Ultra - Humani Trail 2015

Poster boy for Pen Llyn Ultra!