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Ultra Trail Atlas Toubkal (UTAT)

04-Oct-2018 Marrakech, Morocco

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2 REVIEWS
Trail Race Race Terrain
105KM / 65Miles
2 Days - 500+ Runners

Alternate Distances: 42KM/26M 26KM/16M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Brutal  

Entry From €350

UTAT (Ultra Trail Atlas Toubkal) is an intense 105km ultra with 6500 metres of ascent. It starts in Oukaimeden in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and traverses a series of high mountain passes with a top altitude of 3550 metres. The terrain is brutal: rocks, loose scree, steep ascents, quad-burning descents. It is semi self-sufficient as although there are feed and medical stations you need to be responsible for longish segments inbetween. The cut off is 36 hours.

The scenery is awe inspiring. Huge peaks stretch into the distance, bright blue skies, vivid red rock and brilliant green junipers. Your run back through history into a Berber culture that has not changed in centuries. Tiny hamlets and farms dot the route, where other stages take you across totally deserted nomad territory.

There are 3 other distances to try: 42 km with 2600 m of ascent, a 26km and a two day challenge - the 42 + 26.

The mix of mountain terrain, Berber villages, untouched country and stunning passes make this race a real one off. But be prepared to suffer, because you really will. In terms of distance to height gained it is amongst the toughest in the world and the Atlas Mountains are brutal.

Read Alice Morrison's review of the 2015 edition HERE.

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alice morrison

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review Ultra Trail Atlas Toubkal (UTAT)

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oliverbinz

07:06 08-02-16

one of the best races in the world and only a few hours away from home; a big adventure-trail-run for a really cheap prize. Oliver

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aliceoutthere

04:36 05-06-15

UTAT actually has four different races: the ultra, the marathon, the 26km and the challenge which is the marathon one day and the 26km the next.
I ran the marathon last year - 2014. 42.2km with a whacking 2600m of ascent - which is around the same as two Ben Nevises crammed into the middle.
There were only four of us Brits competing and two of us live here in Morocco. But - BRILLIANTLY - one of us WON the women's marathon distance and the challenge. Sadly, it wasn't me!
This is an incredibly tough mountain marathon and the ultra is even tougher. The reasons for the difficulty: you are running at altitude (you start at 2300m), the terrain is brutally unforgiving mountain rock and trail, it is hot and dry and it is very steep in places both up and down.
But like all difficult things, it gives back every single piece that it takes from you with interest. It is truly fantastic and I am going back in 2015 to do the Challenge.
The course is split up into three hills. You do the first one in the dark and then run down to the first CP as dawn breaks, the second one is the biggest and a beast. It takes you up to the Tashdirt pass at 3200 m and steals all the energy from your legs and lungs. The views from the top and the descent are amazing and were my favourite part of the day. The third which you start after the second and last feed station - thank goodness they had coke! - is a heart breaker. Black rock, straight up, relentless.
It was a low point for me, a long low point. When you reach the top of this col, your work is done. Straight down and across the plain to the finish.
The race itself is amazing but I also loved the time in the camp as there were lots of things put on for us including some training, talks and workshops and some Berber music. It was a really great atmosphere and incredibly friendly and inclusive.
I live here so I get to go to the Atlas Mountains a lot but I never tire of them. Beautiful is a word that doesn't really cover it but it is the one I have to use, and the views on this race show you a lot of the best bits! It is virtually unknown at the moment in the British ultra running community, but I hope more people start to do it, because I know they would love it!

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