arrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upchevron-upchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upclosecomment-newemail-newfullscreen-closefullscreen-opengallerygridheadphones-newheart-filledheart-openmap-geolocatormap-pushpinArtboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1minusng-borderpauseplayplusprintreplayscreenshareAsset 34facebookgithubArtboard 1Artboard 1linkedinlinkedin_inpinterestpinterest_psnapchatsnapchat_2tumblrtwittervimeovinewhatsappspeakerstar-filledstar-openzoom-in-newzoom-out-new

What to Pack to Run 100 Miles in the Alps

View Images
Montana-based runner Mike Foote's UTMB gear lined up inside his yurt; Photograph by Mike Foote

In the 2011 North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), Mike Foote was the first American finisher, 11th place, in the 103-mile trail race through the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.

To put it in context, the race course around 15,771-foot Mount-Blanc has a combined ascent greater than Everest. Last year Mike finished in 24 hours, 25 minutes, and 12 seconds. That’s a full day and night of running through every type of weather, as these mountains flash through all four seasons on a daily basis.

This year, the Missoula, Montana-based, yurt-living, 28-year-old runner is back to run the race again—and we’ll be along for the ride in his support crew. He’s also coach of the country’s second largest cross-country team. “Working with the kids definitely makes me a better runner,” says Mike. “Seeing how they improve and deal with their own challenges helps me overcome my own.” We’re pretty sure he’s inspiring the next fleet of ultra trail runners.

We asked Mike to fill us in on the key gear he will need to survive the race. Watch it webcast live at

1) The North Face Featherlite Rain Jacket
Lightweight waterproof and breathable. No frills and slim fitting. I’m counting on it to keep me dry and warm on the first night.

2) The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc pack
TNF nailed it this year with a pack that isn’t over built, has the right carrying capacity, and fits so well there is NO jostling.

3) Black Diamond Icon Headlamp
Powerful and bright. Lights the trail in front of me and keeps me feeling confident and running fast through the night.

4) The new TNF hyper track guide shoes
Lightweight yet durable and cushioned enough for an arduous 100 miler. Keeps my foot in place even on the steepest decents.

5) My sister!
My sister Rachel will be crewing me for the fourth time at the 100-mile distance. It’s her job to keep me positive, eating, and moving the last 50 miles!

And, of course, there is the gear that is worth it’s weight in gold, but I hope I never use. I keep these in the pack though at all times. The space blanket, whistle, and elastic bandage for wrapping injuries.