The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is the most prominent of all mountain races, with more than 2,000 participants from all over the world. Centered around the famous Mont-Blanc mountain, part of the European alps, the loop of the mountain trail goes through France, Italy, and Switzerland. The total distance is 166 km, and the course, with its elevation gain of 9,500 meters, must be completed within 46 hours. The runners continue on the harsh mountain path day and night, ignoring the cold as well as their feelings of sleepiness and hunger. They are cheered on by friends, family, and local residents. All of the townspeople gather at the finish line, and welcome the runners back from their fantastic journey with warmth and praise.