Over the past century, tens of thousands of athletes – from all over the world – have challenged Mont Blanc in many disciplines, including mountain running.

A library would not be enough to collect the books that tell the story of these athletes, their passion and the intense emotions they experienced.

That's why we'll only remind you of the most recent mountain running feats. Those of athletes that you could still meet today on the terrace of the center of Courmayeur who remember or are preparing for the next challenge on Mont Blanc

The history of the organization of VTMB races faithfully follows the chronology of the legendary feats of Champions who have left their mark on the slopes of Mont Blanc: first the Sky Running races and then the Trail Running races


Let's start from the '20s, we are at the dawn of the mountain running discipline, only a few nations organized competitions in this discipline: USA, United Kingdom, USSR, France, Spain, Japan and Italy. The first Italian athletes train on Mont Blanc and in the Italian Alps in preparation for the legendary Ivrea-Mombarone and the Ultra races in the USA and England. We will have to wait a few more decades to become organizers of internationally important competitions such as the Mountain World Championship (1985) which paves the way for the spread of the discipline to athletes throughout the country. In 1991 we arrived at Mont Blanc. The Official Challenge

If today we challenge Mont Blanc without fear and with great reverence, we also owe it to athletes, professionals and entrepreneurs, dreamers and visionaries such as Marino Giacometti, Giulio Sergio Roi and Enrico Frachey.These three special people in three different ways have made a decisive contribution to the development of our discipline. Repetitively: a great athlete and founder of the FSA and then the International Skyrunning Federation; a sports physician famous for his decades of studies on performance at high altitudes and the CEO of FILA, in fact one of the first sponsors of these sporting events characterized by an altitude above 2,000 meters above sea level. Extreme.

All three were convinced that Mont Blanc was the perfect setting to challenge their limits.... The same conviction that you have!


It was July 28, 1991, only twenty years ago, when four athletes were present on the starting line. Yes, you read that right! Four daring athletes: Adriano Greco, Marino Giacometti, Angelo Todisco and Sergio Rozzi. Their challenge is to climb 52km of Mont Blanc, starting from Courmayeur. Tough, unforgettable race won by Adriano Greco with a time of 8h48'25". Since then, year after year, Mont Blanc, but also Monte Rosa and Adamello have been the scene of impossible challenges, above 1,000, 2,000 and 4,000m. of positive elevation gain in a few kilometers or tens of kilometers, which today we all dream of and can complete.

In the following years, Mont Blanc has attracted athletes from all over the world who have competed in Sky Running, Sky Alp, Sky Bike, up to the current Vertical and Trail Running races. Without disrespecting any athlete, it is necessary to remember that the most daring and determined athletes to challenge the White Giant were the aforementioned Giacometti and the indefatigable Bruno Brunod, who is still remembered today for having moved the bar of the limits of mountain running further and further.

Little by little, the Sky Running challenges have given way to less technical but no less demanding disciplines such as trail running, which Courmayeur has also promoted in collaboration with organizations from beyond the Alps such as Ultra Trail Mont Blanc in Chamonix, which overlooks the other side of Mont Blanc.

Taken from Skyalper n.129/25 June 2020 © Claudio Primavesi


Thanks to the geographical position, the history, the athletes and the incessant desire of the local organizers to invent increasingly challenging race routes, Courmayeur has become, with good reason, one of the unmissable events to put on the calendar.

Many of these races are still organized today, but only one of them guarantees to leave its indelible mark on the slopes of Mont Blanc: the Vertical Trail Courmayeur Mont Blanc!


There are 10 trail running races that still start, pass through or arrive in Courmayeur.

The names need no introduction, but let's remember them in the order of birth:

  • Ultra Ttail Mont Blanc
  • Chamonix-Courmayeur-Champex
  • Gran Trail Valdigne
  • Trace Duce Savoie
  • Beer Ranchers
  • Tor Des Géants
  • Gran Trail Courmayeur
  • Winter Trail
  • Tor 130
  • Vertical Courmayeur, which today has been transformed into the Vertical Trail Courmayeur Mont Blanc.


2021 is the year of sport, well-being and health in the municipalities of Valdigne (Courmayeur, La Salle, La Thuile, Morgex, Pré-Saint-Didier). The Mont Blanc Community – Vallée du Mont-Blanc has been awarded the title of European Community of Sport ACES. The award is reserved for "communities" that have characteristics of excellence and shared values in terms of sport, well-being and quality of life. The Municipalities, which are working in a choral way, this year, will promote the natural sporting and tourist vocation of what moves at the foot of Mont Blanc and the following objectives:

  • Fun with exercise;
  • Strengthen the sense of belonging to the community;
  • Learning Fair Play and Improving Health
  • Promote values related to health, well-being and sport for all age groups (children, young people, families, amateur and professional athletes).

Since its foundation in 1999, ACES Europe – Federation of European Capitals and Cities of Sport (a non-profit association based in Brussels that since 2001 has been awarding the awards of Capital, Community, City, European Municipality of Sport) – has set itself the goal of promoting sport among the citizens of the European Union, in particular towards children, the elderly and the disabled. In Europe, more than 1500 territories (cities, towns, communities and European capitals) have obtained this recognition over time. ACES Europe is also a UNESCO partner.