Our head of outdoor pursuits is celebrating after completing the gruelling Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB).
Chris Wright finished the Alpine ultra run, a 171km circuit of Europe’s highest mountain with 10,300m of ascent, in 45 hours and 49 minutes, one of 1779 finishers from 2,500 who started.
Chris, who runs the school’s outdoor pursuits department offering pupils the chance to develop skills in lots of different outdoor activities including climbing, orienteering, cycling, caving and mountaineering said “The UTMB was an incredible experience. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but the most amazing feeling to cross the finish line, especially as more than 30 per cent of starters pulled out. The race attracts great support and interest in Chamonix and is truly an international event with athletes from all over the world taking part.
“I met lots of interesting people and was privileged to run in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, visiting three countries along the way. It was exhausting, uplifting and unforgettable.”
Just getting on the start line is a feat in itself as the 2,500 participants have to accumulate enough points by completing a number of other ultra races (more than a marathon distance) just to qualify to be entered into the draw for a place. The event is always massively over-subscribed with runners from all over the world.
This year’s edition saw a high number of DNFs (Did Not Finish), including the favourite, Spaniard Kilian Jornet, who was forced to withdraw for medical reasons. The weather was poor at the start, wet, windy and was a distinctly wintry minus 10C on the high passes.
Giggleswick School headmaster Mark Turnbull said: “A huge well done to Chris from our entire school community on a fantastic achievement. Chris is a great inspiration to us all. The UTMB took dedication, fitness, and enormous strength of mind and we are all in awe of what was an incredible adventure.”
Chris is now busy organising an ultra running conference to be held at Giggleswick School in April 2019.