The 2023 UTMB was crammed with query marks about who would find yourself standing on the highest step of the rostrum, each for the women and men.
On the ladies’s facet, solely a handful of the highest 10 from the 2022 race had been returning. If one had been to disregard all the pieces that Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race interview) had beforehand executed this summer time, she would have been the odds-on favourite. However simply seven weeks faraway from setting a brand new course file on the Hardrock 100, which was simply three weeks after doing the identical on the Western States 100, nobody knew how her seemingly super-human physique and thoughts would maintain up.
However actually, in hindsight, it was foolish for anybody to fret about how the G.O.A.T. of path ultrarunning would deal with a 3rd 100-mile race of her summer time. Dauwalter as soon as once more confirmed that she is in a league of her personal, main the race from 32 kilometers in and by no means wanting again. Her runaway victory resulted in a time of 23:29:14.
For the boys, with 9 out of the highest 10 males from 2022 returning, the depth of the sector was unquestionable. And with Kilian Jornet out resulting from harm, it was anybody’s race.
However, fact be instructed, most eyes had been in all probability educated on Jim Walmsley. After his second summer time spent in Europe with a full focus positioned on UTMB, would he lastly be capable of put collectively the race that everybody thought that he might? Would there lastly be an American man who would crack the code of UTMB? It it wasn’t going to be Walmsley, might it’s Zach Miller (pre-race interview) as an alternative?
For a lot of the race, it might have been tough to discern which of the 2 People, or actually any of the boys working within the high 10, would come away with the victory because the lead modified palms a number of occasions and the gaps grew into the double-digit minutes on a number of events. However it in the long run, it was Walmsley, the meticulous pupil of UTMB, who would lastly be capable of put all of the items collectively and attain Chamonix first with a time of 19:37:43, a brand new course file. He turns into the primary American man to win this iconic European race.
At 172 kilometers (106.5 miles) in size and with some 10,000 meters (32,800) ft of climbing, the UTMB circles Mont Blanc within the Alps on one is arguably essentially the most iconic course in path ultrarunning. With a begin in Chamonix, France, the ultimate race on the finish of every week of all issues path working and racing, the course leaves city and climbs shortly into the mountains into France, Italy, after which onto Switzerland earlier than returning to Chamonix to the largest end line within the sport.
It’s truthful to say that that is essentially the most aggressive path ultramarathon of the 12 months, and the occasion serves up all the thrill that’s anticipated of it. With its excessive degree of status because the grand finale of the UTMB Mont Blanc pageant, big crowds come to look at the greats of the game race over the rugged and wild course the place something can, and does, occur.
This 12 months, 2,814 starters headed out from Chamonix at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 1, 2023, on a barely modified course. Late in August, race organizers introduced a change within the remaining phase of the race that added just below two kilometers (about 1.2 miles) to the general distance however changed a steep climb and technical descent with a lot gentler forest working, albeit nonetheless a climb. Whereas this transformation suited some runners and was an obstacle to others, in the long run, it in all probability made little or no distinction within the final result of any of the placings within the race.
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2023 UTMB Girls’s Race
Was there truly any doubt that American Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race interview) would truly win UTMB? If her performances all through the summer time had been any indication, it might have been silly to wager in opposition to her. After successful and setting course information at each Western States 100 and Hardrock 100 earlier this summer time, this win would possibly simply be the cherry on the cake, or the cirese sur la gateau, because the French would have it. The legend of the game led from the early miles, and in typical Courtney vogue, smiled and joked her technique to the win with a time of 23:29:14.
Whereas Emma Pooley, of Switzerland, led for the preliminary kilometers of the race, it didn’t take lengthy for Dauwalter to maneuver to the entrance. Sporting her trademark smile and fortunately interacting with volunteers at assist stations each time the chance offered itself, Dauwalter merely makes it look good.
The highest three girls, Dauwalter, Pooley, and France’s Blandine L’Hirondel, got here into Les Contamines, 32 kilometers into the race, inside seconds of one another. It could be the final time we might see the entrance of the race collectively, as by Col du Bonhomme, 12 kilometers later, the hole between Dauwalter and second-place Manon Bohard Cailler, of France, was almost 10 minutes. L’Hirondel and Chiina’s Fu-Zhao Xiang (pre-race interview) got here by one other two minutes later. Germany’s Katharina Hartmuth (pre-race interview) came visiting the darkish col one other 5 minutes in arrears. The scenario remained primarily unchanged by Les Chapieux at 51 kilometers and Lac Combal at 69 kilometers, besides the gaps had been rising.
Almost 10 hours into the race, Dauwalter got here by Courmayeur at 81 kilometers, not even bothering to cease on the assist station. Bohard continued to maintain the hole manageable at 18 minutes, but it surely was actually beginning to appear like one other runaway victory for the American for the highest step of the rostrum. However the race for the remainder of the highest spots was simply beginning to get fascinating. L’Hirondel and Xiang remained shut in third and fourth, just some minutes again of Bohard, and Hartmuth continued to lurk one other 20 minutes again. This early within the race, there have been nonetheless many inside hanging distance.
Coming by Refuge Bertone at 86 kilometers, the highest 5 remained unchanged and Canada’s Ailsa McDonald, Poland’s Katarzyna Solińska, the U.S.’s Sabrina Stanley and Leah Yingling, and Claudia Tremps of Spain crammed out the highest 10.
Someplace earlier than Arnouvaz at kilometer 99, Bohard took a fall that may finally take her out of the race. She entered the help station strolling gingerly, however was decided to maintain going. This growth opened up podium prospects even additional, and Xiang and L’Hirondel continued to run collectively at Grand Col Ferret, 50 minutes behind the ever-steady, smiling, and blissful Dauwalter. Hartmuth was simply quarter-hour off a podium place.
With the arrival of Saturday morning got here renewed spirits for a lot of. Dauwalter arrived to solar at La Fouly working 26 minutes beneath her personal course-record tempo. L’Hirondel and Xiang got here in just below 50 minutes again, however now there was daylight, within the type of a few minutes, between the ladies. Hartmuth remained in fourth, 65 minutes down, Solińska in sixth, Yingling in seventh, and Spain’s Maite Maiora got here by in eighth wanting relaxed and centered. Stanley remained within the high 10. Bohard lastly succumbed to accidents from her fall and would withdraw from the race.
By La Giète, 130 kilometers in, the hole between Dauwalter and second place was over an hour, however the struggle between the remainder of the highest 5 remained tight. Xiang moved into second and Hartmuth third, simply minutes aside, as L’Hirondel started to really feel the space and time in her legs and dropped again. Solińska and MacDonald continued in fourth and fifth, working collectively nearly two hours behind Dauwalter and almost 50 minutes behind second and third locations.
Issues remained comparatively unchanged at Trient at 144 kilometers. Dauwalter appeared good, Xiang was 66 minutes again, and Hartmuth was a mere minute behind her. Solińska and MacDonald adopted one other 50 minutes again, with Maiora trailing them by quarter-hour.
With victory seemingly all however assured for the American, the battle for the opposite two podium spots began to get heated on the closing climbs and kilometers. By way of Vallorcine on the base of the ultimate main collection of climbs, Hartmuth moved up into second after biding her time the whole race, now seven minutes forward of third-place Xiang and fourth-place L’Hirondel, an extra 9 minutes again. Maiora led Solińska in fifth and sixth just below two hours behind the chief.
Close to the highest of the ultimate climb at Tête de Béchar, 161 kilometers in, it was Hartmuth in second, 56 minutes down. L’Hirondel moved into third quarter-hour again and Xiang stored the stress on for the ultimate podium spot, trailing by simply 4 minutes. The following hole to Maiora remained about half-hour.
In the meantime, Dauwalter made quick work of the ultimate descent to the end line in Chamonix, ending in 23:29:14 and finishing the final word trifecta of ultrarunning, successful the Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and UTMB multi functional 12 months. “Anytime you’ve gotten an opportunity to tackle a loopy problem, I believe we must always,” she stated afterward.
The battle for the ultimate two podium spots didn’t let up till the very finish. Coming by La Floria, simply 4 kilometers from the end, Hartmuth led L’Hirondel by a mere 9 minutes, and each girls appeared robust all the way in which to the end. They’d end simply over 40 minutes behind Dauwalter, Hartmuth in second at 24:10:52. L’Hirondel, the multi-time path world champion, completed in third at 24:22:50 for her debut 100 miler.
Xiang would fade away from podium competition within the remaining kilometers however held on for an unbelievable fourth-place end, bettering on her seventh place in 2022. However actually, the thrill of her race end was solely added by receiving a wedding proposal on the end line. Having met her now-fiancé — she stated sure! — 4 years in the past at UTMB, the proposal actually was an ideal ending to her race.
Maiora completed fifth, a formidable consequence after her DNF within the race in 2021.
2023 UTMB Girls’s Outcomes
- Courtney Dauwalter (Salomon) – 23:29:14 (pre-race interview)
- Katharina Hartmuth (Hoka) – 24:10:52 (pre-race interview)
- Blandine L’Hirondel (Kiprun) – 24:22:50
- Fu-Zhao Xiang (Hoka) – 24:50:33 (pre-race interview)
- Maite Maiora (Vibram) – 25:02:26
- Katarzyna Solińska (On Working) – 25:20:23
- Ailsa MacDonald (Saucony) – 25:48:54
- Leah Yingling (Lululemon) – 26:21:24
- Sabrina Stanley (adidas-Terrex) – 26:58:53
- Lucy Bartholomew (Salomon) – 27:39:23
- Claire Heslop (Salomon) – 28:05:39
- Martina Klančnik Potrč (Slovenia) – 28:21:05
- Emily Vaudan (Salomon) – 28:34:53
- Alice Coquard (Fartleck) – 28:52:26
- Kimino Miyazaki (Hoka) – 28:53:08
- Claire Bannwarthh (Raidlight) 1 29:12:-
- Man Yee Cheung – 29:14:31
- Katie Wright (La Sportiva) – 29:26:54
- Amanda Basham (Altra) – 29:29:57
- Alexis Crellin – 29:38:23
2023 UTMB Males’s Race
After a historical past of fighting UTMB, the American males confirmed up this 12 months with Jim Walmsley and Zach Miller (pre-race interview) taking the highest two-spots on the rostrum. Two vastly totally different racers with totally different approaches to the occasion, the 2 had been in a position to push one another from begin to finish, with Walmsley’s ever-consistent tempo lastly successful out in the long run with a brand new course-record time of 19:37:43. However with a stacked subject, with 9 of final 12 months’s high 10 again for one more crack on the race, and final 12 months’s champion Kilian Jornet out with harm, it was anybody’s wager all through a lot of the race of who would come out on high.
There’s by no means a non-chaotic begin to UTMB, and this 12 months was no totally different. With nerves and pleasure working excessive, it was France’s Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon (pre-race interview) who led at Saint-Gervais, 21 kilometers in, with the whole remainder of the sector scorching on his heels. However as darkness fell on the race and the kilometers ticked by, a number of distinct teams started to kind. Coming into Les Contamines, 32 kilometers in, it was Zach Miller, Jim Walmsley, and the U.Okay.’s Tom Evans (pre-race interview) bunched up and working collectively. It appeared like there can be the potential of a repeat of the Miller-Evans bromance from 2022, with the addition of Walmsley as a 3rd. Frenchman Mathieu Blanchard (pre-race interview) and Petter Engdahl (pre-race interview), a Swede who lives in Norway, teamed up only a minute behind the main trio, and the remainder of the top-10 males got here in inside 5 minutes of the leaders.
By Col du Bonhomme at 44 kilometers, it was clear that Walmsley was there to place his mark on the race. Miller doggedly held on 30 seconds again, and Evans got here by one other 30 seconds in arrears, wanting decidedly worse than the 2 males in entrance of him. France’s Germain Grangier (pre-race interview), Blanchard, Engdahl, and Joyeux-Bouillon continued to run collectively simply eight minutes off the lead.
The top of the race remained amazingly constant over the approaching kilometers to Courmayeur, 81 kilometers into the race. Walmsley led Miller by a handful of minutes, Engdahl and Grangier adopted, working shut to one another in third and fourth, at beneath 20 minutes again after Evans determined to name it a day. Joyeux-Bouillon and Blanchard stayed inside half an hour of the chief in fifth and sixth.
Ever the aggressive racer, Miller made his transfer earlier than Arnouvaz, 99 kilometers in. He got here by the checkpoint main a fatigued-looking Walmsley by two-and-a-half minutes. Many questioned if this was simply one other occasion of Walmsley taking the early race out too laborious and paying for it later. Grangier, Joyeux-Bouillon, and Engdahl all got here by the checkpoint inside half-hour of Miller, nonetheless properly inside hanging distance if both of the 2 People fell again. The remainder of the top-10 males additionally remained shut, with a big group containing New Zeakland’s Scotty Hawker, France’s Thibaut Garrivier, Blanchard, Switzerland’s Jean-Philippe Tschumi, and Germany’s Hannes Namberger coming in scorching and quick.
Coming over a darkish and foggy Grand Col Ferret at 103 kilometers, Miller prolonged his result in almost 4 minutes, however Walmsley appeared decided and appeared to have discovered a second wind. Grangier continued to carry robust simply 12 minutes behind the chief, and the chase pack of the remainder of the highest 10 remained comparatively unchanged with a number of of the boys teaming as much as run the ultimate kilometers to dawn collectively.
It’s at all times a query of when the precise racing at UTMB begins. That’s, when do runners make their transfer and hope that it sticks? Coming into Champex-Lac at kilometer 126 on Saturday morning, it was beginning to seem to be maybe Miller’s early transfer is likely to be the one which labored for the American. With an 11-minute hole over Grangier and Walmsley, who had been now working collectively, Miller appeared robust and centered. However there was nonetheless a variety of racing to do, and a variety of mountains between him and the end.
Whether or not Walmsley was truly in a spot of trouble within the later hours of the evening, or if it was all a part of his technique to carry again till daylight, all the pieces modified when the daylight lit up the Alps. By kilometer 139 at La Giète, he’d whittled his hole to Miller down to 2 minutes, and by Trient six kilometers later, he’d moved again into the lead of the race, a place he wouldn’t relinquish. Grangier continued to run in third, with fourth, fifth, and sixth place, Joyeux-Bouillon, Blanchard, and France’s Ludovic Pommeret, all shifting collectively 44 minutes again from the battle up entrance.
With the kilometers ticking by, Walmsley’s lead solely continued to develop. At kilometer 154 at Vallorcine, he was greater than 13 minutes forward of a struggling Miller. Seven kilometers later at Tête de Béchar, the hole was as much as 16 minutes. From right here, it might be only one extra climb as much as La Flégère earlier than the course tipped downward to Chamonix. Grangier maintained his third place up the ultimate climb, with Blanchard in fourth and Pommeret in fifth, greater than an hour again on the chief. Garrivier ran in sixth, whereas Hawker and Joyeux-Bouillon had been seventh and eighth, 92 minutes again from the lead.
As soon as on the ultimate descent, there was no touching Walmsley, and one can solely think about the ideas and feelings that should have been going by his head. After 5 makes an attempt on the race, the final word pupil of the course had lastly found out the best way to put collectively the race everybody thought he was able to. He crossed the end line to large cheers from the gang with a time of 19:37:43, breaking Kilian Jornet’s course file of 19:49:30. Wiping away tears whereas receiving congratulations from previous UTMB champion François D’Haene, it was clear how a lot this victory meant to him.
Fellow American Miller got here throughout the road in second with a time of 19:58:58, wanting utterly spent. This was his greatest end throughout what can solely be known as an prolonged relationship with UTMB beginning in 2016. Granger accomplished the rostrum with a 20:10:52.
Blanchard, final 12 months’s second-place UTMB finisher, ended simply off the rostrum in fourth. Perhaps one of many extra spectacular outcomes of this years race was of Pommeret in fifth. The 48-year-old masters athlete, who was the 2016 UTMB champion and 2022 TDS winner, confirmed that age actually is only a quantity. The opposite shock within the high 10 needs to be Tyler Inexperienced, the American who made a late race transfer to complete in seventh. He didn’t transfer into the highest 10 till Tête de Béchar, 161 kilometers in.
Race favourite Petter Engdahl withdrew at Champex-Lac, 126 kilometers into the race.
2023 UTMB Males’s Outcomes
- Jim Walmsley (Hoka) – 19:37:43
- Zach Miller (The North Face) – 19:58:58 (pre-race interview)
- Germain Grangier (The North Face) – 20:10:52 (pre-race interview)
- Mathieu Blanchard (Salomon) – 20:54:25 (pre-race interview)
- Ludovic Pommeret (Hoka) – 21:00:54
- Thibaut Garrivier (Hoka) – 21:10:38
- Tyler Inexperienced (Nike) – 21:19:21
- Hannes Namberger (Dynafit) – 21:20:46
- Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon (On Working) – 21:31:22 (pre-race interview)
- Baptiste Chassagne (Sidas-Matryx) – 21:38:11
- Joaquin Lopez (Kailas) – 21:47:12
- Daniel Jones (Asics) – 21:55:59
- Santos Gabriel Rueda (Columbia) – 21:59:01
- Ji Duo (Hoka) – 22:07:10
- Scotty Hawker (Vibram) – 22:13:58
- Thomas Joly (Hour 7) – 22:25:20
- Rod Farvard (The North Face) – 22:32:59
- Raul Octaviu Butaci (BigK) – 22:38:02
- Yan-Qiao Yun – 22:41:09
- Sergio Gustavo Pereyra (Scarpa) – 23:01:30
Thanks a lot to the sector group of the next people who helped iRunFar cowl this race: Ellie Greenwood; Lance Hartzler; Marissa Harris; Olivia Rissland; Ashley Saloga; Tim Peeters; Kirsten Kortebein; Simon Mawby, Gina and Greta Atwood; Donielle Wolfe; Andrea Pedroni; Fabrice and Tom Van De Cauter; Monique Stuut; Ian McFarlane; Nina Birkl; Jaja and A.J. Ferer Capili; Anthony Ellison; Alan Danger; Helke Seitz; Elise Huttenga; Michael Jones; Cora Ang; and Simon Sales space. Our race manufacturing is a neighborhood manufacturing!
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