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Courtney Dauwalter wins UTMB with dominant display – tough days are why she loves ultra running

Courtney Dauwalter won the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) women’s race in 24 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds. She absolutely crushed the women’s field, finishing while the next closest competitor was still around an hour from the end. Dauwalter was 21st overall and the second fastest American in the race, including the men.

The 171km UTMB is one of the most famous and hotly contested races of the year. The brutal course has over 10,000 metres of accumulative climbing, much of it at altitude.

Dauwalter is the fourth American women to win the race. This year, she was the second American overall, pipped to the post by a matter of minutes by Jason Schlarb.

“It was a really tough day, but that’s why we love ultra running, right?” Dauwalter said, adding a thank you to her friends and family, saying she wished they were there, but “I’ll take care of the beers for you”.

Yao Miao of China was in the lead for much of the early stages. She set out at a fierce pace. Before the race started, ultra runner Dylan Bowman predicted Miao would win or crash out of the race, when speaking on the Billy Yang Podcast.

He was proved correct as Yao eventually faded and by the time Dauwalter finished, Yao was languishing almost 70km back, in 73rd position.

This was Dauwalter’s first UTMB race. She completed the race with her trademark baggy clothing and irrepressible smile.

(09/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

Mountain race, with numerous passages in high altitude (>2500m), in difficult weather conditions (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), that needs a very good training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy. It is 6:00pm and we are more or less 2300 people sharing the same dream carefully prepared over many months. Despite the incredible difficulty, we feel...

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Pau Capell aggressive tactics pay off as he becomes first non-French winner since Kilian Jornet to win UTMB

Pau Capell won the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in 20 hours, 19 minutes and seven seconds. He is the first non-French winner since his fellow Spaniard Kilian Jornet won in 2011.

The UTMB is one of the premier ultra trail races in the world. It is the culmination of a week long running festival, which sees the best in the sport compete for the coveted winners titles.

The brutal 171km course, with over 10,000 meters of accumulative elevation, favors runners who pace themselves conservatively – a common refrain is that “the race does not start until 100km”. But, Capell ignored the advice and set off at an aggressive pace, taking the lead in the first few kilometres and holing it until he ultimately won.

“Leading from wire to wire, in heroic fashion, it goes against common sense in endurance sport and everything you would expect given the field,” said UTMB commentator Dylan Bowman, who finished second in the 145km TDS at the UTMB week in 2018.

Bowman added it shows the sport is evolving, and to win at the top level, you now need to take risks.

Finish line announcer Eoin Flynn listed Capell’s other wins and compared him to a superhero.

‘I felt horrible’: Ruth Croft reflects on OCC win at UTMB

Capell modestly said “I’m not a superhero but if one did exists it would be my parents.”

The race started in Chamonix, 6pm, on Friday. A few Chinese athletes set off at a mad speed. In particular, HK100 2018 champion Qi Min looked like he was trying to set his 5km personal best, rather than run for almost a day. Qi looked over his shoulder and saw the lead he had built in the first few hundred meters and slowed until Capell was level with him. The pair stuck together, but Qi began to fade from the top five. Between 80km and 100km he dropped out of the top five and then out of the top 100. 

The pack began to set and it looked as though the podium was decided well before the finishing line. Capell had an unassailable lead over three time champion and eventual second place Xavier Thevenard (21:07:56), who himself was well ahead of third place New Zealander Scotty Hawker (21:48:04).

Audrey Tanguy wins TDS, Hillary Allen marks comeback from near-fatal fall

“What to say about Pau? He did a great race today. I saw the time, it got 10 minutes farther and 10 minutes farther,” Thevenard said. “He was untouchable.”

Thevenard used his time in the limelight to call people to protect the environment for future generations.

Hawker crossed the finish line, running hand in hand with his young daughter, mirroring scenes at the HK100 when she sang Happy Birthday.

“It’s a dream come true,” Hawker said of reaching the podium at the UTMB. “I thought maybe one day, but it was just a dream, now it’s real.”

Hawker was in the leading group along with Capell at the start of the race.

“At the start, it may have looked fast but it was honestly slower than other years,” he said.

A tearful Hawker said as he ran he thinking of his parents watching at home and his family at the finish line.

(09/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

Mountain race, with numerous passages in high altitude (>2500m), in difficult weather conditions (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), that needs a very good training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy. It is 6:00pm and we are more or less 2300 people sharing the same dream carefully prepared over many months. Despite the incredible difficulty, we feel...

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Tollefson, Dauwalter Lead a Strong Pack of Americans at 2019 UTMB

A year after a bad fall ended Tim Tollefson’s latest effort to be the first American atop the podium at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), the ultrarunner is returning with reignited determination—but also a heavy heart.

Twice a third-place finisher of the daunting 171K, the Mammoth Lakes, California, pro is primed and ready to compete in this epic race through the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps between Friday and Saturday. This comes after Tollefson’s bid in 2018 ended around the 48K mark when a fall required stitches in his left quad, forcing him to withdraw, but not leading to any long-term damage.

Though a disappointing way to end his day and his hunt for first, he’s put that behind him as he once again tries to become the first American man to finish atop the podium in the 17-year history of the race.

“Last year doesn’t haunt me, but it’s something I would like to avenge,” Tollefson told Runner’s World. “It serves more of a constant reminder that I need to come back here and prove something to myself because I think I have unfinished business. I think this race in particular plays to experience, and I’d like to think that I now have enough experience and the skill set to put together the performance I have dreamt of.”

Training was slightly different this year to prepare. The 34-year-old physical therapist added about 20 percent more vertical gain during his weekly training, especially on long runs. This included dozens of 20- to 30-mile runs with about 9,500 feet of vertical gain. He also won the popular 120K Lavaredo Ultra Trail in June in Cortina, Italy, with a time of 12:18:47.

With more than 32,000 feet of vertical gain and often inclement weather, the UTMB course has been known to crush even the strongest and fittest runners. Tollefson proved worthy of the challenge in 2016 and 2017 with third-place efforts, not to mention his runner-up showing in the adjacent CCC 100K in 2015.

This year, Tollefson is competing for more than just his personal goals: He is running to honor a fallen friend. On August 14, friend and fellow Mammoth Lakes resident Cody Tuttle, a 32-year-old professional filmmaker and photographer who documented Tollefson for several projects, died in a paragliding accident near Lone Pine, California.

“It was a tragic loss for the community,” Tollefson said. “It’s a sobering reminder that every time we go into the mountains, there is an inherent risk, and yet there is a reason we are all drawn to this type of rugged mountain environment.”

Tollefson will have heavy competition as he strives for his goal. As usual, the men’s field of the race is deep, with Frenchman Xavier Thévenard, a three-time winner and defending champion as the clear favorite. Last year’s runner-up Robert Hajnal of Romania is also in the field, but Americans Zach Miller, twice a top-10 finisher at UTMB, Alex Nichols, who was second at the 2018 Hong Kong 100K, Hayden Hawks, who has had big success at 50K and 100K races, and Jason Schlarb, who has been on a tear since turning 40, could all be contenders.

“I feel like I’ve finally acquired the climbing skills that allows me to run with the Europeans and be able to be confident coming into this race,” Tollefson said. “It still comes down to executing the race, but I’m really psyched to get out there and run another lap around Mont Blanc.”

The women’s field is also intriguing, especially from an American point of view. Although defending champion Francesca Canepa of Italy returns, all eyes are on Courtney Dauwalter, who has dominated women’s ultrarunning in recent years, right up to the point when she dropped out of the Western States Endurance Run in late June with a hip injury. The 34-year-old Golden, Colorado, resident is healthy, but admits she didn’t do the training she had hoped while recovering from her injury.

“It’s a long race and, from what I hear, it’s a grind, so it’s not a fast 100-miler,” Dauwalter told Runner’s World. “I’m not sure how my skills and experience will play into it, but I’m going to take each section as they come and run as efficiently as possible and see what happens. These mountains are awesome and the challenge will be big.”

Two-time winner Rory Bosio (2013, 2014) from Truckee, California, is also back after running the shorter OCC in 2017 and the longer TDS last year, while Nebraska’s Kaci Licktieg, who took third at Western States Endurance Run this year, and Katie Schide, an American living in Switzerland, both could be poised to compete for podium finishes.

“I don’t know if I can be competitive; the women’s field is bonkers this year, and I think that’s great,” Bosio told Runner’s World. “Winning those races back to back seems so long ago, almost like it happened to a different person. But it’s going to be an exciting race, no matter what because it’s UTMB.”

More than 2,300 runners from 90 countries will start the race at noon ET on Friday. You can follow along live here.

(08/31/2019) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

North Face Ultra Trail du Tour du Mont-Blanc

Mountain race, with numerous passages in high altitude (>2500m), in difficult weather conditions (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), that needs a very good training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy. It is 6:00pm and we are more or less 2300 people sharing the same dream carefully prepared over many months. Despite the incredible difficulty, we feel...

more...
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Ultra marathon mom, stopped to breast feed her baby during the 106-mile Mont-Blanc Trail Race

A British mom has made headlines all over the world after being photographed taking a break to breast feed her baby son during a 43-hour ultra marathon.

Sophie Power, who recently competed in the 106-mile, high-elevation Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc trail run through France, Italy, and Switzerland, has been applauded for showing “motherhood endurance” and “the strength of the human body” in the snap, which was taken by photographer Alexis Berg.

The 36-year-old mother of two and avid runner took time to nurse her 3-month-old infant, Cormac, during the challenging race.

“Cormac usually feeds every three hours, “This isn’t a story about me,” she wrote. “It’s a story about the daily struggle of being a new Mum. A story about the need to nurture our babies the best we can. And the importance to priorities our physical and mental health — to be ourselves as well as be a mother.

“I have been overwhelmed by the positivity and supportive messages. They are for all mothers for we are all in this together.” Despite having to stop to feed her son, Power managed to complete the marathon in 43 hours and 33 minutes. 

She believes that keeping active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is really important.  She has logged 273 miles on Strava so far this year, 27 races. 

"In a typical race I would get in and out of the aid stations as quickly as possible," she says.  "But here I had to focus on keeping down enough food for me and for Cormac, and resting."

(09/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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French runner Xavier Thevenard won one of the most prestigious trail races in the world on Saturday

French runner Xavier Thevenard won one of the most prestigious trail races in the world on Saturday. Thevenard finished the 171 kilometres in 20:44:16. The runner adds this finish to his two previous wins at UTMB in 2013 and 2015. Earlier this year, Thévenard was on course to win this year’s Hardrock 100 when he was disqualified at mile 91 for accepting aid outside an aid station. Second place went to, unexpectedly, Romanian Robert Hajnal in 21:26:20. This is the runner’s first time in the top three at UTMB and a major international victory. Hajnal said post-race that he was aiming for the top 10. He had no idea he would end up in the top two. Surprisingly, the two favourites Kilian Jornet and Jim Walmsley, were not to be found in the top two. (09/01/2018) ⚡AMP
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Poland's Marcin Swierc took victory last night after a dramatic finish at the UTMB Festival

Poland's Marcin Swierc took victory last night after a dramatic finish to the TDS, the first major race of the UTMB festival, while France's Audrey Tanguy took a surprise win in the women's category. After making a gap on leader Dmitiry Mityaev of two minutes seven seconds over the last 7.8m, Swierc became the first Pole to win a UTMB race. He was 62 seconds ahead of USA's Dylan Bowman, who also passed the Russian, a further 41 seconds back, between the last checkpoint at Les Houches and the finish line at Chamonix. Swierc, who started steadily, completed the 123.4km in 13 hours 24 minutes. Mityaev and Bowman did much of the front-running in the middle of the race as favored American Hayden Hawks went from being early leader to suffering his third DNF in UTMB races. Meanwhile, Swierc was just 29th and nearly three minutes behind the leader after 6.8km. He was up to 23rd but still more than four minutes adrift at 11.4km. Sky running specialist Mityaev made a push up the final big ascent from Contamines to Col Tricot, establishing a four-minute lead, only to have that reduced on the descent and finally eclipsed on the flatter run-in to Chamonix by Swierc and Bowman. Rob Forbes was Britain's top finisher in 12th as Tom Owens, who figured highly in the early stages, was eventually 20th. (08/31/2018) ⚡AMP
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My feet have pretty much taken me all over the world says Zach Miller

Zach Miller likes to look down from a mountain, see a distant peak or valley that looks inviting and know he can just run there. The 29-year-old Miller has surprised himself and the racing world by becoming one of the top mountain runners and ultra racers, running for up to 105 miles at a time. But, at its core, it’s a will to use the gift of his legs that propels him. “My feet have pretty much taken me all over the world,” he says while cooling down after one of his daily 20-mile training runs on Colorado’s Pikes Peak, where he lives in a one-room cabin above 10,000 feet. “They’ve taken me physically up and down mountains. They’ve enabled me to do enough in races to send me anywhere in the world.” In just a few years’ time, Miller has exploded on the scene as an extreme-racing legend and fan favorite by the way he starts each race like a spooked horse in a sport in which measured is considered the only way to win. “I just like to be at the front if I can be,” the 2007 Hempfield High School grad says. “I don’t like being at the back. It makes me nervous.” Not trailing the pack is one thing. Being able to run like your pants are on fire over hill and dale for 50 miles or more at a time is another. But Miller does it. Sometimes he hits the wall like any human testing the limits of physical and mental endurance. But sometimes the go-get-’em mindset makes for great performance. Zach is in France in preparation for the grueling 103-mile Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc race through three countries. (04/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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Maybe the Most Difficult Race on the Planet?

MBR UNIQUE RACES: One of the most challenging races in the world is the North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. Its distance of 103 miles (and elevation gain of 9,600m) around western Europe's highest mountain, taking in Switzerland, France and Italy, is widely regarded as one of the most difficult foot races on the planet. (12/22/2017) ⚡AMP
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