ULTRA TRAIL ATLAS TOUBKAL (1-5 OCT/2020) : THE 12th EDITION TO BE HELD ON THE NORTH AFRICA’S ROOF (MOROCCO)
Ultra Trail Atlas Toubkal (UTAT), registrations opened to run in the North of Africa. Trail running was born out of the desire to discover – by running – regions and territories, in contact with their natural environments and in search of cultures from here and elsewhere. This is the essence of trail running! For 2 decades, these discoveries have built the greatest French and international races. The UTMB around the Mont Blanc, the Diagonale des Fous in Reunion, the Western States in the heart of California … and many more. On the African continent, it’s the UTAT. With its unique and majestic environment, this race wrote its history step by step to become what it is today: the first mountain event in Morocco. Its primary motivation: Being a meeting for discovery and total escape! A change of scenery!
ULTRA TRAIL ATLAS TOUBKAL 2020: The 12th edition from the 1st to 5th of October
The UltraTrail Atlas Toubkal (UTAT) has gathered trail runners from all over the world for 11 editions on the sumptuous Oukaïmeden plateau 70 km away from Marrakech at 2,600 meters above sea level, in the majestic High Atlas mountains near the Jbel Toubkal (4,167 meters), the highest point in North Africa. In this little corner of Berber country, the tranquility of the inhabitants contrasts with a wild and grandiose nature. Here, at each bend path, we discover a peaceful herd, a green valley, a fresh and singing torrent, a village teeming with life or a pass to climb over 3000 meters above sea level. At each crossing villages, the runners are greeted by the encouragement of the inhabitants with the benevolence of the local volunteers in the refueling. It’s a playground where outdoor sport lovers can enjoy breathtaking landscapes and trails that are both wild, technical and fun. The UTAT is a permanent delight.
The High Atlas chain is the highest in North Africa: it culminates at 4167 m with the djebel Toubkal and rises like a long border of more than 700 km, separating the oceanic and subtropical climate, hot and humid, from the semi-desert and continental climate. Today, the High Atlas (2500 km from Tunisia to Morocco) asserts itself as a land where Berber traditions and culture remain alive. Far from contemporary traffic, we discover the azibs (shelters of shepherds made in dry stones) and the small houses of the douars, (small villages) which seem totally timeless, dotted here and there in this vast desert of altitude. Here, hospitality is a founding principle. The Berbers, in their improbable villages built on the mountainside, live in self-sufficiency and simplicity that pushes us to reflect on our own way of living. UTAT is indeed a race to the top … Here the mountain really rhymes with altitude! All the races take place on average at 2400m, with the highest point at 3690m … If the UTAT were in Europe it would be one of the Highest races!
Participating in the UTAT is to explore a country and a culture. It’s the change of scenery of a distant
country, yet so close! To come to UTAT is no more difficult than to go to a race located in the other side of France! The air connections between the big European cities and Marrakech are numerous and frequent, allowing a change of scenery in only 2h00 to 4h00 of flight!
The organizers of UTAT, the Sports Nature Development association, are doing everything to facilitate the stay of the runners and their families by offering numerous possibilities for logistics services.
- On arrival at the airport (from Thursday, October 1st), welcome by the UTAT’s hostesses!
- Transfers are provided by bus to the Oukaïmeden plateau (around 1h30)
- Two options for accommodation:
- A camp made up of a hundred 16m2 tents, designed to accommodate 4 to 5 people and equipped with mattresses. This offer proposes a stay in the heart of the festivities.
- The “dormitory” option (chalet Caf dormitory) offers a little more confort ( and heating as a bonus)
In total 400 Runners were present in 2019, in 2020 organization has confirmed that the winner of the Ultra Trail World Tour 2019 (UTWT), the UTMB® 2019 and the Transgrancanaria (amongst other trails) announces in his annual calendar, his participation in the UTAT in 2020 on the 105 km.
“I like new challenges and new territories. the Atlas is one of these unique territories that I want to discover! Because in addition to its magnificent landscapes with very technical mountain trails, I also like to know other cultures and different traditions. Without forgetting the food and the discovery of local specialties!. Since I have never been there, I learned a bit and I know from my mountaineer friends that the UTAT is not an easy race! I expect to find a mountain that is a bit extreme with rough terrain. It’s a great goal for me to complete the year 2020, which will be particularly filled with travels, emotions and I hope with victories! ” , explained Pau Capell.
The organizer Cyrille Sismondini is happy: “I am proud to welcome this elite runner, because I think he will be able to greatly appreciate these sumptuous settings and the technical altitude trails, so different from those of the European mountain ranges. But also, he will like to discover everything there is around: the incredible logistics deployed, the volunteers, the incomparable hospitality of the inhabitants of the Atlas and the 100% local meals! To be an organizer is above all to ensure the greatest number can share and discover a country and a region.”
Men and Women Results:
UTAT 105 km
- Omar Bouhrim (MA) – 22:43:45
- Laure De Cabissole (FR) – 35:02:20
Marathon de l’Atlas 42km
- Abderrahim Kemmissa (MA) et Ismail Ait Omar (MA) – 04:48:07 two winners ex-aequo
- Olga Baranova (RU) 06 :38 :48
Challenge 42km + 26km
- Id Bejaou Omar (MA) 08:29 :48
- Maryline Nakache (FR) 09:02:23
Amazigh Trail 12km
- Abdellah Mouad (MA) – 00:56:00
- Ben Shaba Oumaima (MA) – 01:46:46
ULTRA TRAIL ATLAS TOUBKAL 2020: LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT THE RACES AND ROUTES
ULTRA-TRAIL ATLAS TOUBKAL 105km/D+8000m: It’s a trail that cannot be described, it can only be experienced, by treading the land of the High Moroccan Atlas. A unique adventure in the world. It requires a total engagement, but provides you with incredible emotions, deeply moving encounters and unexpected exceeded your limits.
Max time : 40h / 5 ITRA points Departure on Friday, October 2nd at midnight
MARATHON DE L’ATLAS 42km/D+2600m: A unique maratrail. It’s a real trip to berber territory from which we come back transformed. The start is common with UTAT: same place, same time and same route for 20 km. The Atlas Marathon is the first test of the Atlas Challenge.
Time limit : 40h / 3 ITRA points Departure on Saturday, October 3rd at 6 am.
La VIRÉE D’IKKISS 26km/D+1400m: It’s an unforgettable walk through the high atlas, a real concentrate of emotions, effort and beauty. The Ikkriss Run may be shorter than its elders but it demands an intense effort : two 3000m passes, several technical descents and an ultimate amazing ascent ; it also goes through a number of authentic villages. In other words : a short trail with a maximum thrills
Time limit : 8h / 1 point ITRA Departure on sunday october the 4tht, 9h00, open to hikkers
CHALLENGE DE L’ATLAS 42km + 26km/D+4000m: Experience the exhilaration of Moroccan peaks on a marathon of extreme technicality and sumptuousness. 2 days, 2 challenges: LE MARATHON DE L’ATLAS on the first day and LA VIREE D’IKKISS on the 2nd day! Le Challenge de l’Atlas allows to chain two trials (Marathon de l’Atlas and La Virée d’Ikkiss) and thus, to accumulate 68 km and 4000 m of elevation gain in 48 hours.
Departure on Saturday, October the 3rd at 6 am.
L’AMAZIGH TRAIL 12km/D+500m: The Amazigh Trail (word for Berber and means free man. You may also note that “gh” is pronounced “r”) gives every rider (regular, occasional, athlete sprinter …) the opportunity to discover outdoor running. This open race is intended at a wide audience (aged over 16), eager for a first trail experience or a short distance explosive effort. It is the ideal opportunity to discover the generous nature of the High Atlas through a universal sporting practice in the festive atmosphere of the plateau of Oukaïmeden. To the heart of the paths and beauties of Oukaimeden, a real mountain trail that expresses itself on the court!
Time limit: 5h Departure on Sunday, October 4th at 10 am (Hikers are welcome!)
Info by Abel de Frutos for Trailrunningspain