In September 2023, our Emu Trekkers guide Brad Phillips was one of the few Australians to complete the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in Chamonix, France. We sat down with Brad to hear more about his wild (perhaps crazy) experience.
Brad, last week I logged onto Strava and saw that you had gone for a run. But this was not your average run. You ran 181km in 40 hours in the European Alps and climbed almost 10,000m of elevation. That is the equivalent of around 4 marathons back to back, ascending more than the entire height of Everest. Can you tell me a little bit about this race and what inspired you to take on such a crazy adventure?
I certainly had plenty of time to think about that while I was out there. The UTMB is such an iconic event and the premiere ultra marathon in the world. It's a 100-mile trail running race with 10,000m of elevation gain and you have 46.5 hours to complete it. Crazy for sure!
I have a few reasons for wanting to do it:
- Firstly, I love being outdoors in nature and the trail around Mont Blanc has always been something I've wanted to experience. Now there's a far more civilised way to do that by taking a 10-day hiking trip but this is the express experience if you like.
- Secondly, when you get into any sport that you love you tend to seek out the pinnacle event or experience in that sport and this race is definitely the pinnacle of trail running.
- Finally, I think our bodies are remarkable things and allow us to accomplish so much. Seeing whether I could do this and get fit enough and strong enough to complete a race this hard was appealing to me.