The following are the reasons as to why the ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI requires racers to carry specific mandatory equipment and why a racer will be disqualified for not carrying these items.
The UTMF and STY is not just about running in the mountains. It is a 161km, 46 hour (for the STY – a 84km, 24hour) trail running race where you’ll be running for a very long time over an extremely long distance. During this race, you’ll likely face many challenges including physical exhaustion, energy depletion, digestive problems, hypothermia, dehydration, injuries as well as broken equipment. Being a fast runner is not enough to make it across the finish line. This is a survival race where, in order to overcome these various challenges, you’ll need to draw upon your knowledge, skills as well as equipment. In order to finish, you will need to have solid experience running/hiking up in mountains under many different weather conditions and temperatures throughout the entire year.
This race is an outdoor race taking place up in the mountains. It may rain and, during the month of April, it may even snow/blizzard especially at higher altitudes on Mt. Fuji. Bad weather is not unusual. No one can guarantee good weather on the day of the race, and of course, the race will take place rain or shine. The highest point along the race course is half way up Mt. Fuji at an altitude of 1800 meters. The average temperature there during the month of April is 3.12℃ – colder than inside a refrigerator! (This number is a 21-year average based on data from the Japan Weather Bureau). The lowest temperature is 0.28℃, and if there is wind, it will feel much, much colder than that. Please be aware that there is a very real possibility of hyperthermia under such conditions.
Regardless of whether there is snow half way up Mt. Fuji, the race will still likely go on. This is because, every single racer will be carrying ”mandatory equipment” – a minimum amount of equipment stipulated by the race, to help them through bad weather conditions and low temperatures. In addition to this, as clearly written in the race participation requirements, each and every racer will also have accumulated the knowledge, skills and physical endurance to run for two nights straight (in the case of the STY, one night) and to endure harsh weather conditions without outside assistance.
Given the severity of the race, racers who do not carry enough equipment/gear will not be allowed to participate in the race. There will be an equipment check before the race as well as during the race. If you do not have your mandatory equipment with you, you will be automatically disqualified. The required equipment is clearly listed on the “Mandatory Equipment List” in the Rules & Regulations. Please read this carefully and carry the items on this list with you at all times during the race. What you wear and what you carry on your back is what will protect you during this race.
The mandatory equipment for the UTMF and STY are exactly the same. In order to carry this equipment, you will need a backpack with at least a 12 liter capacity and if you include 1 liter of water and your food, the total weight of your backpack will most likely be more than 5kg. The amount of food you bring, the capacity and weight of your backpack will also depend on whether you have a support person/crew at aid stations, as well as the use of aid stations and drop bags.
You must have the mandatory equipment with you throughout the entire race but this does not necessarily mean you have to wear and/or use these items. If you do not need the item, you can leave it in your backpack and pull it out when you need it.
You have specifically been asked to bring “WARM” clothing (fleece/long sleeve shirt/pants/gloves etc.) and a “WATERPROOF” jacket with hood and rain pants. These are on the mandatory equipment list to protect you from hypothermia.
Further explanation regarding “WARM” clothing:
You must wear or carry with you:
A. PANTS: Running pants that cover your ankles OR tights/leggings that cover your ankles OR a combination of short tights/leggings and long socks which cover the legs completely when worn together.
B. SHIRT: The shirt should be made out of material that will provide a layer of warmth such as fleece or wool or a lightweight down jacket.
In addition to A and B, you must carry with you:
C. RAINWEAR that consists of a waterproof rain jacket with a hood AND rain pants. Rainwear means that it must be made of waterproof and breathable membrane such as Gore-Tex or something similar and seams must be seam-sealed.
Note: Waterproof rainwear is not a substitute for A and B as it does not provide adequate warmth. You must have/wear a SEPARATE set of PANTS and SHIRT to meet requirements A and B.
D. Warm mittens/gloves
E. Warm hat that covers your ears (e.g. wool, polyester knit hat)
Before the start of the race, your mandatory equipment, including the above items A to E will be checked. If you are missing any of these items, you will not be allowed to participate in the race. There will be booths selling outdoor gear in case you are missing items or your items do not meet the requirements. You may have your mandatory items re-checked after purchasing the required gear.
The mandatory equipment list provided by the race is considered to be only the minimum. You will be running in harsh conditions for two days and one night (one day and one night for the STY) so please ensure that you are well-prepared to manage your own safety and well-being and bring additional gear that you may need to do so.
Further information regarding mandatory equipment will be posted in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.