Iain Takes on the Eiger Trail - 51km + 3100m Climb -
Eiger Trail 51 - Iain Martin

This week we caught up with ultrarunner Iain’s progress following not one, but two, epic forays: the Eiger Trail followed by a 4-day recce of the UTMB.

The Eiger Trail

First up was the Eiger Trail 51. This is the baby brother of the epic Eiger Trail 101, but a challenging 51km route nevertheless as it snakes around the foot of the iconic and imposing Eiger in Switzerland. Iain reported:

Whether it was slogging up snowy alpine passes, or hopping between roots on wooded descents, the Eiger Trail has plenty to test keen trail runners.

Eiger Trail 51

The Eiger Trail experience
On a good day, the route combines a variety of terrain including the ‘Tissot Cliff Walk’ and a very wobbly bridge, with spectacular views. Not so for Iain on this occasion thanks to cloud cover which obscured the vista and ensured he kept his eyes firmly on the path before him.

The reward was one of the coveted Eiger Finisher Stones – a unique piece of limestone hand-prepared by local mountain guides.

Eiger Trail Medal
Ultra run kit lay

Kit lay
Iain shared his kit lay, giving an interesting insight into a carefully thought out array of lightweight, durable, useful and sometimes life-saving items that help travel the distance while adding minimal extra weight.

This is a highly tuned package, refined through experience over the course of many a trail – worth taking note.

Get the full story
You can watch Iain’s report here and read his article in Trail Running Magazine.

The UTMB Recce

Next on the agenda as part of Iain’s preparations for the UTMB, was a 4 day fastpacking recce of the Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc route. Lots of interesting little details here for anyone planning to take part in this race.

Day 1
Carrying a bigger pack than normal, Iain’s kit included 24 gels and some extra clothes, chargers and overnight gear as this is an unsupported trip. His video report documents the journey up from St Gervais on the way to Les Contamines. As you will see, he went wrong a couple of times but whilst a path can be corrected, time is of the essence during a race. It will of course be signposted on the day so should help to keep everyone on the right track.

Some pretty steep sections represented a challenge in themselves but offered a great opportunity to evaluate pacing.

UTMB map 1
UTMB trail map 2

Day 2
After overnighting in Les Chapieux at Auberge Nova, a comfortable bunk room with good food, Iain appreciates the bright sunny morning as he makes his way to Courmayeur. It seems the final descent can be a tricky number especially if it has been raining, another good reason to have made a preliminary visit to check out the terrain.

The grand finale

In just a few weeks we’ll be reporting on Iain’s adventures during the #UTMB event as he reaches the zenith of his ultra running goals.

We wish Iain the best of luck, he’s certainly in phenomenal shape and has diligently laid all the groundwork. Go Iain!


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