3 Reasons To Run CCC

CCC is one of the few races during famous UMTB which is on track around beautiful Mont Blanc. CCC stands for Courmayeur – Champex – Chamonix. It starts from Courmayeur then to Champex-Lec and the finish line is in Chamonix. The main race UTMB is a full circle around Mont Blanc from Chamonix via Courmayeur and Champex to Chamonix.

CCC looks like the second most popular race during this event because there was less than 30% to get a place in UTMB and CCC, less than 50% for TDS. Why 30 and 50 percentage? There is a lottery every year where you need to fulfill all requirements and pay some amount of money (I think I paid 50 euros) and then you have a chance to be drawn and get a place in the race. Yes, it means that you’ll never be sure if you run next year. One exception is the elite that is invited.

I run it last year, in 2019, and it was my first time during this event and there are my three main reasons why it’s worth to consider to run this race:

1 Views

The alps are beautiful in late summer, in 2019 the whole week before the main race was with great weather for trekking. When I was reading about previous years’ opinions in 2018 and in 2017 there was rainy weather on Grand Col Ferret, but this year it was also windy but sunny, I can say that it was even too sunny. 

The first peak, Tefe de la Tronche, is about 2500 meters high and many people, including me, stopped there to take photos with Mont Blac in the background, also running from it to the first point there were breathtaking views on Mont Blanc.

This it view from Tefe de la Tronche.

I don’t have any photo from the second peak, Grand Col Ferret. 

On the 3rd peak, there is a view for Switzerland, I was there at night and it looked good for the whole city, it was on route to La Giete. I was a little upset that I had to run and there wasn’t a lot of time just to sit and enjoy views. I know, I could run faster and have more time for enjoying views 🙂

And the views from the last peak, Tefe aux Vents.

It was the best place because it was the last one and only 10km left to finish line.

2 People

As it’s the most popular race in Europe, the organizers need a lot of people to help them. I’m surprised that they manage to find so many people who are so optimise and helpful during the race, many of them are volunteers and they are willing to spend so much time just to support random runners. I always wonder how many times do they need to answer some dumb questions, like how long is to next point. Not all of them speak English and it was sometimes problematic but finally, everything went fine. 

Whole UTMB is a big event there. I’m used to that there are few hundreds of people around the whole event including runners, organizers, and supports. So overall you meet only a small part of them and most of the time, you’re alone. There it’s different, you’re all the time with others. I was always running with someone in front of me and behind me, it was strange because I wasn’t used to that. And the most important were the people in cities/towns, there were a lot of them and all of them were willing to support, it was kind for them.

For some people it’s disadvantage but for me, it was an advantage to run all the time with others because I didn’t have to think about the route and I could blindly follow people in front of me.

3 La Giete

There is an important point in around 56 km where people from outside can come and meet with us, it’s in Campex-Lac. There is also a checkpoint for the required equipment. When I was preparing for that race I found information that about 25% / 500 people resign around this point. I didn’t understand why because they shouldn’t be so exhausted because three more mountains are waiting.

After this race, I understand why.

The first reason is that you can meet with your family or friends and I think it can discourage you to continue to run. Some people feel too comfortable among family and friends and it can cause that they don’t want to continue.

The second reason is La Giete. It’s interesting mountains and it’s easy to underestimate it. It starts in the forest but if you look up then you find some headlamps quite high. It breaks mentally because it’s so high in a relatively short distance. After some walk when I saw the last headlamps I thought it was a peak but it wasn’t, it just turned and after it, I noticed more white points, and again and again. There wasn’t the option to resing because there were only two ways, up and continue or down to the previous point and give up.

If you’re going to run UTMB or CCC, I’m sure you’ll remember that mountant.

There are my three best memories and reasons why run CCC.

Did you run any race at UTMB? What were your best memories from it?