The atmosphere at the start gave a foretaste for the main event tonight. Warming up was very continental comprising a strong coffee and plenty of dancing / air guitar to the music which was building a great atmosphere despite the frequent showers. A very important part of the UTMB tradition is the stunningly powerful anthem, Vangelis's Conquest of Paradise, which must have sent shivers down the spine of every single runner. Many hours later it should reduce many of them to tears as they approach the finish line! The track below is the original score until I can find the brass version the UTMB use!
The race traces a circuit of Courmayeur before heading north east towards the Col du Grand Ferret, the high point of todays race which will be fairly 'atmospheric' in todays snow. The leading runners are expected into Chamonix around 9pm tonight with the slowest having until midday tomorrow to complete the course
The timing mats at the start. As an additional safety feature in the poor conditions all competitors are now carrying a third chip on their rucksack
Roving kit checks
The massed start beginning a circuit of Cormayeur