Ghana Ocean Racing athlete Agbeli Ameko is one of the runners selected in the recent draw to participate in the 2019 Ultra-trail Mont Blanc (UTMB) Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS). The UTMB TDS is a single-stage mountain ultramarathon covering 145km and 9,100m of vertical height gain with a maximum time limit of 42 hours. Agbeli Ameko will be the only runner representing Ghana.
The race is one of the team’s endurance adventures targeted in their bid to enter the around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race in 2021. He is currently training and launching a campaign for race sponsorship as well as brand ambassadorships.
The UTMB is among the most competitive ultra trail races in the world, with more of the top elite runners turning up each year, treating it as the World Cup or the unofficial world championships of the sport. To enter the ballot for a place in the UTMB, participants must accumulate points by completing qualifying 85km or 100+ km ultramarathons. More qualified runners register than the number of spots available, so a draw or lottery system selects the final participants.
This year will see a new 145km TDS® route designed by the UTMB® race commission. It enters the heart of the Savoie passing through all the unmissable places of the massif such as Pas d’Outray, a true viewpoint of the Beaufortain, with its breathtaking view of the Pierra Menta and the Grand Mont, two mythical places for ski mountaineering.
The start is scheduled 2 hours earlier than usual (4am) to allow runners to cover the additional 23 kilometers and 1800 meters of height gain. Logically, the time barrier is delayed, leaving 42 hours for participants to finish the race instead of the 34 hours of 2018. In addition to CrossFit®, UTMB training and preparation will include participation in ski mountaineering races in Colorado and the Arctic Triple in Lofoten.