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.