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Time for the UTMB

August 27, 2010

It’s that day of the year again. The day of the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc. With all the commotion in Chamonix. A few ultra trail stars, some less famous contenders and the rest, for whom the race is a BIG adventure, an epic odyssé into the biggest mountains of Europe – and into the mind. How to manage the sleep deprivation? How to stay focused and on the move even when your legs and your head have completely different agendas. Check out this youtube clip from 2009 to get a feel for the race.

It sure is a beautiful race, with such a positive athmosphere. Only the start is mindblowing, with ultra trail stars Kilian Jornet, Scott Jurek, Sebastien Chaigneau, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Lizzie Hawker, Marco Olmo setting off in high but managable speed, not forgetting to eat and drink properly from the beginning. Kilian Jornet was “unlucky” at the Western States earlier this summer and forced to slow down due to cramps, finishing 4th. So there are certainly several US runners who think they can beat him. However, no male US runner have impressed at the UTMB in recent years. Best US males last year were Jurek and Joe Grant who finished 19th and 20th. 2008: Topher Gaylord 11th; 2007: Topher Gaylord 24th; 2006: Topher Gaylord 42nd; 2005: Topher Gaylord 6th; 2004: John Stamstad 12th.

Let’s see what happens this year. There are several strong US runners: Karl Meltzer, Geoff Roes 1st Western States 2010 and Mike Wolfe with several 1st places this year. France is always strong. Look out for Julien Chorier 1st Reunion 2009 and Vincent Delabarre, several podium positions in UTMB, click for interviews. Brittish Jez Bragg, 3rd Western States 2009, will also ttry to challenge the young favourite, Kilian Jornet, who’d won the race 2 years in a row. There are lot’s of spanish runners. Lots. Which says something about the popularity of ultra trail & mountain running in Spain. In the men’s category there use to be at least 3 spanish in the top-10. In Womens category Elizabeth Hawker will be challenged by brazilian multisport athlete Fernanda Maciel who won the TDS race last year, canadian Tracy Garneau and Helen Cospolich (Colorado). The race starts tonight Friday at 6,30pm. Follow the race live at: www.ultratrailmb.com

PS. Congrats to swedish adventure racing Team Explore who just won Costa Rica Adventure Race.

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