Why the 2022 edition of the UTMB will remain historic in ultra-trail

Why the 2022 edition of the UTMB will remain historic in ultra-trail

A thrilling finale between Jornet and Blanchard

Yes, there is the 4th coronation of the king of trail running, 14 years after his first victory in Chamonix at 19, when he was already shaking up the established order at his beginnings and four years after his last participation, a retirement on the UTMB. All this, after having chained two victories and two records this year over other monuments in the field, Zegama and the Hardrock 100. But if this UTMB is so epic, it is also thanks to an impressive Frenchman, Mathieu Blanchard, who competed until the last kilometers (rare on a race of 170 km and 10,000 m of altitude difference) with the one who inspired him on his debut in the ultra, only five years ago. We even believed at one point that the 3rd in the UTMB 2021, to everyone’s surprise (he was the first), was going to create the feat of beating the Spaniard. But even weakened by a recent Covid, Jornet knew how to make his talent of “GOAT” (Greatest of all time) speak on the trails in the final striking climb, an acceleration, “a monumental box” according to Blanchard, to equalize the number of victory for François D’haene. Epic.

The refreshing Katie Schide and Marianne Hogan

We knew it before the start: a new name will be on the UTMB list this year. In the absence of the double winner, the American Courtney Dauwalter, who outrageously dominates the world trail running scene in recent years, the women’s race, quite open on paper, has also been thrilling. The French Audrey Tanguy, twice winner of the TDS and who dreams of shining on the main event in Chamonix, seemed to be off to a good start before finally giving up after the Grand Col Ferret, around the 102nd km. A duel quickly ensued between American Katie Schide and Canadian Marianne Hogan, overtaking each other on several occasions. Both smiling, natural, joking and playing with the public who gave them back, cheering Hogan, 2nd, like Schide, winner with 1h16 in advance, she who lives… in France.

Katie Schide, at the finish of the UTMB.  (UTMB)

Katie Schide, at the finish of the UTMB. (UTMB)

Jim Walmsley: 2023 goal

He had announced it loud and clear: the UTMB has become the main objective of the American athlete who has given himself two years (2022 and 2023) to win the Chamonix race. For this, Jim Walmsley and his partner moved from Arizona to Beaufortain so that the athlete acclimatized to the format of alpine racing. In search of this “European trail running culture”, which will also go through the discovery of ski mountaineering this winter. His attempt on the UTMB on Friday had started well, he took the lead alone halfway through the race, before encountering difficulties in eating in the Swiss part (km 140), and finally finishing at the foot of the podium. Loudly acclaimed by the crowd, under the arrival arch, he will slip in a few words in French, promising to try to answer interviews next year in the language of Molière. Validating a not so common popularity rating for an American in the Alps. He therefore has 2023 left to succeed in his bet: to become the first US trail runner to win the UTMB.

Jim Walmsley will return in 2023. (Hoka)

Jim Walmsley will return in 2023. (Hoka)

The first times in less than 20 hours

SUB40. The acronym, inspired by marathon runner Kipchoge’s famous SUB2 attempt, was on everyone’s lips – and even displayed on a bus. And for good reason, the famous equipment manufacturer The North Face has made it a slogan worn by its star athlete: Pau Capell, winner in 2019. Was it the right year to bring this ambition to the Spanish athlete, who has only just returned from a series of injuries? Maybe not. After a great start, he was quickly left behind by his main opponents to finally give up at Champex-Lac. Walmsley had slipped it before the race, going under 8 p.m. might not be enough to win the UTMB this year. True: carried by a beautiful weather and a breathtaking duel until the last kilometers, Kilian Jornet (7:49 p.m.) and Mathieu Blanchard (7:54 p.m.) are the first two runners to break the mythical bar of 8 p.m. ” An incredible fight »appreciates Jornet.

The UTMB on the business side

This is not new: at the UTMB, alongside the race, there is business. We see it everywhere in Chamonix, on the Place du Mont-Blanc with the sprawling Salon de la Course and even in the hotels and shops of the city, which are adorned with the colors of the biggest brands in the field. To see the number of people queuing to buy a t-shirt or a logo mug, it appeals to many participants. The arrival of a new premium partner, Hoka, ultra-present and active, like the investment of Ironman, a famous organizing brand of triathlons, in the shareholders of the UTMB Group has certainly taken the event to a new level. branding level.

Supporting figures in terms of visibility on social networks and other media (460 accredited media from 34 countries), the organization affirms: “The media impact of this 2022 edition will be at least twice as great as during the 2021 edition, which had already smashed all records”. Several observers affirm it: this edition of the UTMB (also marked by the return of Asians since the pandemic), on the business side, will mark the development of the environment, in full expansion for ten years.

10,000 runners (of 104 nationalities) took part in the eight UTMB races in the Mont Blanc valley.  (UTMB)

10,000 runners (of 104 nationalities) took part in the eight UTMB races in the Mont Blanc valley. (UTMB)

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