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The North Face Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc - committed to scientific research

by Press Release
Tuesday 30th July 2013
Tags  The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc   |   The North Face   |   ULTRA-TRAIL DU MONT-BLANC   |   UTMB   |   TDS   |   CCC   |   PTL   |   SPORT Protect   |   ENSA

Race news: The North Face® Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc® - August 26 to September 1, 2013

Each year, profiting from a very large number of athletes gathered together for this event, specialists from all branches of medicine are interested in the physical and psychological health of ultra endurance runners.


The Medical commission, chaired by Dr. Laurence Poletti, was created in 2007 with the participation of the Club de Cardiologues Mont-Blanc Cœur et Sport (CMBCS) and the École Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme (ENSA).

Its objective: to optimise the organisation of the medical follow-up of the runners. At the end of each event, the Commission writes a report on the medical activity during the races and the problems incurred relating to health issues. It then advises the race directors on the measures which need to be taken.

The Medical Commission also validates the subjects for research which are proposed by doctors or researchers, some becoming the subjects of official publications. Analysis of the results allows the setting up of preventative action and/or information in the domain of health problems specific to ultra running.

Preventative action concerning health matters.

The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® is the only sporting event in the area of trail-running who set up an internal preventative action (and control) against doping with the possibility for the directors to eliminate a runner.

This action is in no way a substitution for the national and international regulations regarding the anti-doping fight. The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® races pertain to the FFA, (Fédération Française d’Athlétisme) and the controls organised by AFLD (Agence Française de lutte contre le Dopage).

In 2012, blood samples, taken during race-bib distribution from numerous athletes and principally from the 60/80 favourites of the three races, were tested as were those of the first finishers.

In partnership with SPORT Protect to allow trail-runners access to good information

Protection of trail-runners is a major requirement for the organisation of The North Face® Ultra-trail du MontBlanc®. The physical and psychological integrity of each participant is precious and is the reason for which the organisation is vigorously against all forms of doping.

If the runners have the duty to avoid all the traps and to respect the rules, the organistion has the mission of helping them. It is for this reason that for the second year in succession, the race directors, along with its medical unit, have the pleasure of offering every runner all the information necessary so that they are effectively protected thanks to SPORT Protect.

Through partnership with SPORT Protect and access to www.dopage.com and a unique password each runner registered has access to the all SPORT Protect information. This information tool, amongst other things, lists the status of medicine with regard to anti-doping legislation, the references of nutritional products corresponding to the anti-doping standard NF V94-001 guaranteed by the third party and independent certification programme of SPORT Protect, the golden rules to protect your heart... So sportsmen can avoid the traps and the fatal consequences of doping and obtain answers to several fundamental requirements: -

  • Look after themselves serenely and avoid taking medicines, even of common usage, which may contain a forbidden substance.
  • Take supplements without risks
  • Locate on a map the players who act concretely against doping by broadcasting practical and always up to date information.
  • Dispense advice to protect the integrity of the race and the health of their heart
  • To have direct access to on-line assistance through Sportif Info Service.

With the application SPORT Protect, our ambition is to strengthen our position as responsible organisers. It is an excellent tool for all runners which will allow our event to shine in respect to sporting ethics. It testifies the spirit which reigns over our race», commented Catherine Poletti, organiser of the event.

SPORT Protect is a young and innovative business serving the protection of sports people. Since its creation, it has held the position of service provider to institutions, structures and industrialists who wish to effectively protect the health and the integrity of amateur and professional sportsmen.

Research subjects for 2013

In 2012, the event was the subject of several research projects, such as a study concerning "Acute and chronic disorders associated with the practice of the ultra trail", or "The relation between sleep management and performance", the study in 2011 & 2012 on "the effects of kinesiotaping" was carried out, and also "The 10th: what has become of those who ran first UTMB®?".

In 2013, new studies, to help better understanding of the consequences of medium and long-term regular practise of ultra-endurance, will be carried out:

Osteo-articular lesions in trail-runners

Pr Julien GIRARD/ Dr Benjamin LEJEUNE (CHU of Lille)

It will make known the current state of osteo-articular lesions in trail-runners and to specify the links between trail running and degenerative osteoarthritis of lower limbs. All with the aim of being able to offer suitable preventative measures, to adapt the training load of the arthritic subject, and to propose effective medical care adapted to runners suffering from degenerative osteoarthritis.

Pathology of feet and the traumatology of trail-running

Within the framework of the partnership between the medical commission of the medical assistance company Dokever®, represented by Dr. Patrick BASSET, and the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® ‘s medical commission, represented by Dr Laurence POLETTI, joint work has been initiated. Dr Patrick BASSET took the initiative to contact Dr Martin HOFFMAN and Dr Morteza KHODAEE from the Western State Endurance Run so as to make a joint medical survey on foot pathologies and traumatology of trail-running. At the beginning of August, a questionnaire common to both races will be produced to study the pathology of feet and traumatology of trailrunning.

"Dark urine" protocol:

As every year the organisation is very sensitive to preventing the risk of renal insufficiency, aggravated by long distance, long descents, dehydration (risk of rhabdomyolyse) and also and especially by the taking of anti-inflammatory medicines.

The Société Dokever® and its medical director Dr. Patrick BASSET with the collaboration of CHU (TEACHING HOSPITAL) of Nimes has set up, for 2013, a new screening procedure on the ground using urine testing strips.

The purpose is to, as soon as possible, pin-point the early signs of renal insufficiency, and to give the best treatment so as to limit the consequences. All runners presenting symptoms such as urinary difficulties, red or brown urine, intense muscular pains or great fatigue can benefit from this screening.

Injuries in Ultra-endurance

Grégoire MILLET / Olivier BROGLIN (Institut des sciences du sport, Lausanne)

It envisages comparing the injuries experienced during trail races of Verbier, the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® races and the Tor des Géants. It will amongst others, pose the question of the influence of the race distance.

  • © UTMB® [Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®] : 3 countries - 168 km and 9,600 meters of vertical gain in semi-autonomy. 
    2300 runners at the start on Friday at 16:30 from Chamonix to Chamonix in 46 hours max.
  • © CCC® [Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix] : 3 countries - 100 km and 5,950 meters of vertical gain in semi-autonomy. 
    1900 runners at the start on Friday at 9:00 from Courmayeur to Chamonix in 26 hours max.
  • © TDS® [sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie] : 119 km and 7,250 meters of vertical gain in semiautonomy. 
    1400 runners at the start on Wednesay at 7:00am from Courmayeur to Chamonix in 33 hours max.
  • © PTL® [la Petite Trotte à Léon] : 3 countries - 300 km and 24,000 meters of vertical gain in complete autonomy. 
    A non-stop adventure race without rankings open to 80 teams Start on Monday at 22:00 from Chamonix to Chamonix in 138 hours max.


For further information check out www.ultratrailmb.com and ultratrail.tv 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/UltraTrailMontBlanc - Twitter: twitter.com/TNFUTMB


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