Courmayeur, Italy is the starting point for this running adventure. Stooped in climbing, trail running and skiing history it's a beautiful town nestled at the foot of Monte Bianco. The main part of the town is pedestrianised and it's here that you will meet the team and head for dinner before the adventure really starts the following day. The next day we start the run out of Courmayeur and you will quickly be leaving pavements behind and up onto the steep trails that lead to the refuge Elisabetta, along a similar route to that of the TMB (but in reverse). Having run 17km and already ascended 900m you probably deserve a coffee break! From here the path turns off the TMB route and towards our first and highest col of the whole route, the Col Chavannes (2603m), From here you will get far reaching views back down the Valley Veni down towards Courmayeur as well as of Monte Bianco as well as the route ahead of you and your next high point at the Col du petit Saint-Bernard. Before that we run down a long gentle descent through the wilderness of the Vallon de Chavannes’ pastures, a welcome relief to the previous steep climb. One more climb up to the Col and it's time for another brief stop. The Col has been used since Neolithic times, more recently a site to a hospice built in 1000 AD and then also in the World Wars. Frome here we continue our journey into France and make our final descent for the day down into Bourg Saint-Maurice following an old Roman way which links Lyon with Rome.
A good night's sleep following a hearty dinner you'll feel ready to tackle the next day. Day 1 is around 50km and +2,600m height gain, today, Day 2 is less distance but still 3,250m ascent! The run starts as more of a quick hike, we ascend almost 2,000m over 12km. This is where the running poles will probably come in handy. At least the scenery is enough to keep you going, passing lakes and forts as well as the mountain ranges that sit above the big ski resorts of La Plagne, Les Arcs, Tignes and Val D'Isere, until finally you arrive at the second highest point on the route; Passeur de Pralognan (2567m). From there you descend steeply at first to the Cormet de Roselend which sits above the town of Beaufort, famous for its cheese. From here there is still around 26km left to go before our next night's accommodation at Les Contamines, but the good news is you have done most of the ascent. Another col and then down into the hamlet of La Gitte before a steep ascent of 700m up to the Col de Gitte (2322m). If the weather is good you are promised fantastic views over the Chaîne des Aravis and Chaîne des Fiz as well as Mont Blanc, at the foot of which is the next and final day's destination; Chamonix. From the last col of the day, Col du Joly there is a lovely 8km run down to Les Contamines, and a well-deserved rest at the next night's hotel.
Day 3, the final day takes you back along some of the TMB route and its variants. The first climb takes you past the Chalet de Miage, which sits beneath the impressive snow covered Dôme de Miage and then onto the Col du Tricot, the high point of this last day at 2120m. A suspended footbridge takes you over the snout of the Bionnassay Glacier which stretches up towards the normal climbing route up Mont Blanc. On the other side and the trail continues onto Bellevue. From here it really is downhill all the way to Les Houches with the Mont Blanc massif reaching up into the sky on your right. The last 7km of trail gently winds through pine forest and onto the historic church square in the centre of Chamonix. It's finished! An amazing achievement and time to celebrate!