Three years of waiting have come down to the final four days. At the end of August 2015, I visited Chamonix for the first time. I saw the start of the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc ("UTMB") and watched the finish of the CCC, which is "little sister of the UTMB". After a few days, I left this lovely French alpine village making promise to myself, and the receptionist of the hotel to return in 2018 and run the race I had just witnessed.

On Friday, the 31st August at 18:00, this promise will be met as I start at the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc. Supported by friends and family alike, I am taking on the 172 kilometres and 10.000 vertical meters that UTMB comprises of.

I will be arriving on Wednesday, in order to acclimatize and complete my final race preparations. On Thursday, I am picking up my bib number and meeting the lovely people behind A Chacun Son Everest, one of the two wonderful charities that we have raised funds for. Then, on Friday, I will start with a light run in the morning, have a final lunch with my team around 12:00, before I try to grasp a few hours of rest in the afternoon.

Come 18:00 on Friday, 31st August, it is show time. I guess there is not much more to be said from my end, other than that two and a half years of running through the sun, the rain and the snow, have come down to this, the pinnacle of it all.

I must admit that the last few months have been pretty tough at times between balancing work and running. While I certainly did not collect as many training kilometres this year, as in 2016 and 2017, I have definitely improved my mental strength, which is equally important for the upcoming trail around Mont Blanc.

Unfortunatley, the last two weeks have also not quite gone according to my plan. After spending a great weekend training in the mountains in Lech am Arlberg, I fell ill to a virus, and was taken out of training for almost two weeks, forced to take antibiotics and take time of for my body to recover.

In any case, no more excuses. I am feeling in fine form once again, and I am utterly excited to take on the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc.

I will send some updates from Chamonix on my Instagram, so make sure to follow me @nickilange. Furthermore, if you want to track me throughout the race, press the link and type in my bib number (457): Follow Nicki

Finally, if you have not done so yet, I would really appreciate any donations to the charities that I am supporting: A Chacun Son Everest and Oceanic Global