Complete UTMB quartet, or TDG?


So the photo above explains the dilemma; whether to attempt to complete the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc quartet if races, by tackling the PTL (Petite Trotte à Léon), or to go for the TDG (Tor des Geants). Both races are 300km+, and have 24,000m of vertical height gain, but the key difference is that the PTL is a (small) team race of 2 or 3 runners, while the TDG is a solo effort.

It’s a well documented common occurrence amongst runners, that after crossing the finish line of a major race, they are susceptible to depression after the loss of focus on a future goal. I felt that after UTMB, but not this year after the TDS. I’ve had a good think why, and think I enjoyed the TDS race so much, as the majority was over unknown terrain. It’s this factor that is attracting me to the TDG so much, as I really love the scenery of the Aosta valley in Italy, and this race would enable me to explore so much of it.

On the other hand the PTL would be an amazing group experience, so I’m a little unsure which appeals more. Initially I was more motivated by the PTL, but there’s something about the TDG that really appeals; the comparative lack of commercialism, the local interest and support, and the stunning scenery. What touched me most was the tender reaction to Yuan Yang, the Chinese runner who died as a result of a fall in this years race. In the light of a tragedy, the race revealed it’s true colours, and the organisers and runners showed what a real family trailers are.

The next hurdle is the signing up and getting a place, negotiating time off work, then the training. I need to do a bit more research into both, to stop my mind flipping between the two. Perhaps I need to see a shrink to examine what’s wrong with my mind considering a 200 mile mountain race. I don’t even know if I’m looking at 2014 or 2015 even. Will let you know…

4 responses to “Complete UTMB quartet, or TDG?

  1. So are you still planning to run the TDG or PTL? I did some of the TDG route as training for the CCC (carrying bivvy gear so had total freedom and it was awesome) this year and loved it. It’s definitely an ambition for me for the future. Your write up of TDS has helped convince me to do that next year though…

    • Hi Alex, massive congratulations on your CCC race and place! Yes, still very keen on both PTL and TDG. Knew this year that guiding work would get in the way of either of these huge races, but definitely undecided on what to aim for next year. I’m sure you won’t regret running the TDS next year. Good luck

  2. Why don’t you erroll for both races, PTL and TdG? You’ve a week to recover from the PTL. This is what I will do (again), as far as I can get in in both races.
    The PTLis definitly the more challenging one, due to the less organisation support, no trail marks and partly without trails 🙂

    Wish you all the luck to get in and have a successful finish!
    Eric – 2 x TdG finisher but 2 x PTL quiter 🙂

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