/ Mont Blanc Marathon...

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Tony the Blade on 08 Nov 2013

I'm thinking of doing the MB Marathon in my 50th year (2015), I'm a fairly keen runner but haven't run a marathon before. I thoroughly enjoy trail/fell/mountain running but abhor road running. I live minutes from the New Forest (great for trails but piss poor for hills).

Impossible romantic notion or thoroughly doable?

I know you can't give me a definitive answer as you don't know me or my capabilities, however, your thoughts are most welcome. Please don't present me with a plan, that request will come later, this is more about Friday night musing.

Thanks, Tony
Tony the Blade on 08 Nov 2013
The New NickB - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Train for some longer, hilly UK races in 2014 and decide after that.

Have a weekend in Horton and give the Y3P route a go. I did it last week, great fun, but really tough.

Find some hills.
Tony the Blade on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

Ah now then, the Y3P is on my bucket list, it's the cut off times that bother me, I've only ever run for myself (MM's excepted of course) and the thought of not meeting a time barrier throws me off kilter.

Top advice though re waiting until after 2014 season.

The New NickB - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Just go and run it, you don't have to do the race. I am not doing the race, although I was running with a couple of guys who are.
DH3631 - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade: Go for it, I did it a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was emotional at times but made all the cut offs ok. If it helps, I wouldn't class myself as any sort of runner, I had plodded round one road marathon (4+ hrs) a few years prior, and have done the occasional half, 10K, hill race, and MM over the years, but normally near the back of the pack. Longest training run I did leading up to MB was 16 miles I think. To be honest it doesn't have much in common with a road marathon apart from the length. After you get to Vallorcine a lot of the hills aren't very runnable so you'll spend a lot of time walking.
yorkshireman - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Thoroughly doable. Start with that attitude and the rest is just logistics and planning

I'm doing it in 2014.

I've run a few flat marathons, and a few hilly ultras so I'm looking forward to it. As you say you've not run a marathon before, definitely get one under your belt before then, because its tough enough the first time, but the terrain, possible bad weather and the hills will make this taxing.

You say you're near the New Forest - I did 'The Beast' once, run by Poole AC (its a half marathon around Corfe Castle and down up and along the cliffs - lives up to its name). Give it a go and you'll have an idea of what you're letting yourself in for.

Apparently there are still places next year in the MB 10k. Why not ease in with that? You'll get a recce of the area, get an idea on the logistics of the event and get some great training runs in. My first marathon was London, where I lived at the time and I was glad I didn't have to factor in travel and acclimatisation - there's enough to worry about with your first marathon.

Go for it and best of luck.
Steff - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:

For a 50th, 42k is an awkward number. Would have to be a 50k or 50miler! ;-) Why not do a trail marathon in 2014 and step up in 2015?

Seriously though and answering your OP, the MB marathon is probably a well organised race in a spectacular setting. I have not done it, but otherwise the popularity of the race surely indicates quality. However, there are plenty of spectacular trail marathons all over the world. For something that is meant to be a special experience I would go for a more adventures race. After all there si plenty of time to prepare. In my opinion doing a marathon (as in finishing, not doing extremely well) is actually easier in the mountains than on the road, it's certainly much easier on the body. Therefore, I wouldn't worry too much about capabilities. Any healthy person can do it with sufficient preparation.
Chesher cat on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:

I've entered the 2014 marathon and want to improve on my time from 2 years ago. Plan to enter hilly races and need to get a few marathon in as part of the long training run. Live in the New Forest also and though not massively hilly it is a great place to train.
plyometrics - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Do it. Great race. Lots of opportunities to pull out if its going very pear shaped.

If youve not run a marathon before i wouldnt worry as its nothing like a main stream marathon.

However, preparation is key if youre to have an 'enjoyable' time.

Lots of hill work and time on your feet.

Be prepared for it to be hard and dont under estimate the effects of altitude.

Notwithstanding cut off times, Yokshire 3 Peaks is a walk in the park in comparison. IMHO.
Tony the Blade on 11 Nov 2013

Wow wow and wow again - many thanks for all contributions to this thread.

I've now found another willing old man to do it with me. I am definitely going for it so thanks to all for saying to go for it.

I see there is a New Forest Runners club, I'll probably check them out as it really is on my doorstep! We've decided to go to Chamonix next year as well to recce the route, I know Cham pretty well after being there a handful of times so finding the route should be pretty straight forward... or as has been suggested give the MB 10k a go.

I've been over 4,000m on a number of occasions (Alps and Himalaya) and don't perceive that to be an issue.

Thanks again - Bring it on!
Chesher cat on 11 Nov 2013
New Forest Runners is a great club!

Tony the Blade on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Chesher cat:
> New Forest Runners is a great club!

Oh, really. Excellent. Are you a member?
Chesher cat on 11 Nov 2013
Yep, get yourself along.

amandaleeds - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:

I've done the marathon three times; was hoping to get into the new ultra this year but have missed out so maybe next year....

Yes lots of walking on the course so train hiking fast up 800-1000m climbs and that will help you immensely. Also a very long and fast descent after that so get the quads used to that too.

Great atmosphere and support from the locals (cue loud cow bells and shouts of "allez allez!").

Nasty climb to the finish so keep some energy back for that

If you don't manage to eat enough on the course there are snacks and limitless beer on tap at the finish line, then back down in town you have a buffet with more unlimited beer and also wine.

I didn't take poles, some do, some don't.

My usual weekly mileage is for those kind of races is ~25-30 miles if I'm lucky. Training this year was very sporadic and didn't do any long runs in the month before but managed a new PB so the key seems to be building up good endurance over time and being used to long hill slogs on trail terrain.

Tony the Blade on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to amandaleeds:

Some top tips there, many thanks.

Looking at the profile (*see link below) I can see that there is a major spike just over half way which I assume is the Aiguille Des Posettes? And yes, that is a long slog down - I just hope the knees can cope!

I have 18 months to work up to this, should be ample time although I don't want to be sat here in a years time saying 6 months is ample time!

Thanks again.

Tony the Blade on 11 Nov 2013

A mate has told me that to enter this marathon you need to have a history of doing ultras... true or false?

I can't find anything on the web site.
plyometrics - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:


Medical form from your doctor is required.

Cant remember if I had to evidence other similar distance races, but ultras certainly were not required.

They may be confusing it with the UTMB where previous ultras are required on a points basis.
yorkshireman - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:
> A mate has told me that to enter this marathon you need to have a history of doing ultras... true or false?

I successfully entered it and although I've done ultras etc, none of that mattered. I just had to get through the crashing website problems, and I need to send a medical form from my doctor saying I'm fit enough (normal for all sporting events in France).

Seriously, the hardest part was getting through. There's heavy load on the website and it crashes the day the entries open. I had to go on business to the west coast of the US, but luckily was suffering jet lag so was up at 4am when the enties opened, but it took me about an hour of refreshing the page to get in. Definitely keep an eye out for the opening date and stick a reminder in your calendar to avoid disappointment.
Chesher cat on 12 Nov 2013
you do not need to have completed a ultra before attempting the MB marathon. It is hard with plenty of walking but i found it beneficial spending a week in Chamonix climbing before hand.

Just get a steady base milage in, do a few marathons to see how you get on and enter the race for 2015
Tony the Blade on 12 Nov 2013

Great - thanks for replying

So I've done a few MM's and quite a bit of hill running so I should be ok, especially as this is 18 months away.

I'm tempted to enter the 10k next year just to see what it's like.

Thanks again
plyometrics - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Just so it doesn't lull you into a false sense of security, the terrain on the 10km is not representative of the half or full.

Indeed, if you want a real sense of what it will be like, I'd recommend you do the half next year. Effectively, it's pretty much the first and last section of the marathon.

Whatever you decide, have a great time. Atmosphere in the valley is great and the support en route is like nothing you'll experience in the UK.
Tony the Blade on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to plyometrics:

That would have been my preference, but there's only 10k places remaining. It might be best if I download the route and go the Cham with the view of taking it over a few days - just to see what the actual climbs involve.

I'm actually looking forward to the training for this as much as the actual event. But as you and others have said, the support in the valley is amazing.

Many thanks for taking the time to post.

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