Kids in YCC bibs race through the crowded Chamonix streets. The YCC is the youth race during UTMB week. This evening, it’s the young runners’ turns to taste the UTMB spirit.
Pre-teens and teenagers race through Chamonix’s trademark mix of outdoorsfolk, young and old. They race past a couple in their 70s heading down from a day of mountain climbing hauling still-fully-loaded backpacks, past dreadlocked teenagers looking on with curiosity, and past mini-spectators who clap and watch with their eager, bright eyes. This energy is catching, and everyone from the babies to the tourists—who have no idea what UTMB is—get into it. The air of a race is intoxicating no matter where you’re from or how old you are, especially here.
Like the mountains, like the rivers, like the weather, age is a thing we can’t control. As for what we do with it, that’s completely up to us. You can be five years old and hike the vertical-kilometer course up the side of the mountain, or you can run UTMB at age 73.
Here, kids can be adults and adults are kids. It’s time, suspended. Come one, come all to Chamoneverland.
[Editor’s Note: This week, as the UTMB festival of races center around the European Alps town of Chamonix, France, we’re bringing you daily dispatches from photojournalist Kirsten Kortebein. Our goal is to document the global community that trail running brings together in Chamonix. Thanks to Jaybird for sponsoring these dispatches.]