domenica 15 maggio 2016

Interview with Catherine Poletti, director of the UTMB®

I had the opportunity to interview Catherine Poletti, director of the UTMB®, on a topic that recently raised many discussions in the Ultra Trail world, not only in Italy:

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1. What are the main potential risks considered for the UTMB competitions? Weather, path blocked, accident, competitor accidental death, injuries, etc ?UTMB's races are outdoor events taking place in mountain... So we need to take care of all risks inherents in outdoor practice, in mountain and also in a great number of runners including many trailers who have no idea of the mountain spirit...
Nobody can forget that outdoor activity means the acceptance of specific risks especially concerning weather conditions. A race comitee that brings together race's director, rescue directors, weather forecaster,... decide each days routes and start of each race

Moreover we take care of the different points through appropriates rules, a selection of qualified runners, the establishment of an appropriate medical and rescue plan, the the option of toggling in "plan B" as soon as it is necessary...
These "plan B" provide routes and all logistics (whatever it concern personnel or material).

2. What are the different safety measures consider in case of each single risk that may arise? Temporary suspension "start and go", Trail cancellation, alternative track like in 2010 and in 2012?
As I answered in your first question, the race comitee investigate risks each day and decide the best solution at least half a day before the start of each race

3. How important is to have participants with a basic common background, i.e. all of them with a minimum of "ITRA points" experience, rather than allowing any potential unexperienced runner to apply for a Starting Number?
It is better, but it is not the first reason for qualifying points. Indeed, it is a good point, but a runner can acquire qualifying points without having been in mountain...
We have to inform all runners of real conditions of races and in their side, they need not to forget that it is outdoor sport.

4. How Local Authorities or Government Authorities are involved in critical decision taking? E.g. decision to continue or to cancel UTMB if a material event will take place?
In France, the State administration (Prefecture) authorizes, each year, the organization of the event, after submission of a very complete dossier (detailed description of organisation and processes, the rescue plans and description of the rescue teams and the medical teams, the routes, the presentation of plans B....)
In exceptional situations, for example : a natural disaster, a landslide, complete closure of the Mont Blanc tunnel, a terrorist attack ... the organisation may have to ask help to the public administration services
It is the domain of the organisation to assess these situations.

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