Many Elite Americans Drawn for UTMB

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc smI’m beyond busy at the moment, but I can’t help my excitement for this year’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. The lottery was just held and the admitted American contingent is a who’s who list of ultrarunning. Here’s that list! (Each link to an athlete goes to coverage of them on iRunFar.)

Is that enough? Sorry, I’ve got to keep going!

  • Mike Wolfe – Last year’s second place runner will be back. (Added Jan 25)
  • Dakota Jones
  • Scott Jaime
  • Nick Clark – Brit who lives in the US
  • Joe Grant
  • Josh Brimhall
  • Jack Pilla
  • Nick Pedatella
  • Topher Gaylord – President of Montrail/Mountain Hardwear who has consistently put up great UTMB results. He’s finished UTMB 6 of the race’s 8 years.
  • Nicolas Mermoud – The head of Hoka One One, who now lives in Park City, UT, has some impressive UTMB finishes under his belt.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the ladies. They get their own list filled with some pretty accomplished mountain runners. In fact, put together these ladies have four of the five fastest Hardrock 100 times ever run by women. Oh, and Krissy won UTMB in 2009!

  • Krissy Moehl
  • Diana Finkel
  • Darcy Africa
  • Helen Cospolich – A TNF runner not on the entrants list, but who’ll be running.

That’s all I have time for the moment. Here’s the full registration listing. “Registered” or “To Pay” means a runner got through the lottery.

International
Ok, a few top international entry confirmations… I had to look, so I’ll share: Kilian Jornet, Miguel Heras, Thomas Lorblanchet, and Vincent Delebarre. Not on the list, as far as I can tell, include Dawa Sherpa and Julien Chorier. Numerous notable athletes (Jez Bragg, Lizzy Hawker, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Sebastien Chaigneau, Tracy Garneau, or any Americans) from title sponsor The North Face aren’t on the registered list. Enough are missing that I’ll assume that at least some will be running, but have the option to enter later.

CCC
One more thing before I go. I have to mention that Dave Mackey has entered the CCC race. He’s got to be one of the favorites to win.

Additional Info
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re obviously interested in UTMB. Check out iRunFar’s UTMB page for lots of articles and interviews from last year’s race, including interviews with Geoff Roes, Scott Jurek, and Kilian Jornet.

Call for Comments
Does this have anyone else completely stoked? Who will be the top US male resident? Will the top US woman be Darcy, Diana, or Krissy? Should we petition to move the USATF championship to another country, because this sure looks like the US championship?!

Geoff Roes Scott Jurek Karl Meltzer UTMB

Geoff Roes, Scott Jurek, and Karl Meltzer relax before UTMB '10.

There are 35 comments

  1. ScottTomKretz

    Me thinks I might have to try and pick up some of the French language so that I can utilize the UTMB's main page for tracking the race. I think epic might be a good way to describe this field, and that's just the Americans.

    Seeing this has me kind of intrigued…since trail/ultrarunning are not part of the Olympics, do you think there'd be much interest (and feasability) in taking a race of this magnitude and trying to bill it as an Olympic-style event, where countries pick their top X number of ultrarunners for a type of team challenge. I know they have the World Mountain Running Trophy, but I'm thinking something more like a World Ultra Running Trophy sorta thing. Maybe pick a different race (something along the lines of UTMB, the upcoming UT Mt. Fuji, Western States(?), Hardrock or what-have-you) every couple of years to host this.

    Or, perhaps you could even expand the number of runners from each country and score it more like a XC meet.

    1. ScottTomKretz

      And yeah, I guess that something like the IAU 100k and World 24-hour Championships are already getting at something like this, but I'm definitely thinking something more mountainous.

    2. Bryon Powell

      Scott,
      I think UTMB is becoming the Olympics/World Championships of trail ultra 100s. It'd be interesting to see if the IAU would recognize a trail 100 championship and, if that race weren't one that you listed, would it have as little draw as an USATF championship?

      1. ScottTomKretz

        Well…I don't think that any organization is going to have very much success drawing top talent to a "championship" event without either a brutal course or the prize money to back it up. I think that's where the USATF has been failing in their efforts. When I look at the list of their trail ultra championships, they all seem to be on easier, and I use that term very loosely, courses. By holding championship races on more difficult courses you'll attract the quality ultrarunners who are more enticed by the chance to challenge themselves, and by offering better prize money you'd attract the high caliber runners (both of ultra and shorter distances) who are more enticed by the purse at stake. As much as a lot of traditionalists probably won't admit it, TNFEC really did a pretty phenomenal job on both of these, at least judging by the accounts I've read of the difficulty of the course.

    1. Bryon Powell

      First off, I'm far from elite, especially after a year of not training due to injury and ambivalence.

      Second, after conversations with the race organizers and press agency, I will be entering as a member of the media when press credentials go out later this month.

      1. icanseefar

        oh, this has the makings of a great story, "Member of Press, Upstart Bryon Powell Shocks France to take the TNFUTMB Title." I like it!

  2. Matt

    Hey Bryon since your running, how are we going to get race updates? You've spoiled us armchair junkies with your great coverage.

    Thanks for all you do on an international scale in making the sport even more enjoyable, and keeping everyone motivated.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Thanks, Matt. I'm glad you enjoy the international coverage. Now I've just got to convince some of the relevant companies that (1) folks want international ultra coverage and (2) that they should support iRunFar's effort to provide such coverage.

      As for race day… I've got something in the works. ;-)

  3. Malcolm

    Ryan Sandes from Salomon is in too apparently. May the lords of the weather make it more hospitable than last year. Will probably head down from Paris to volunteer as I'm sure it's going to be memorable.

  4. Matt

    I am so looking forward to this. I just entered the CCC, which will be first real significant mountain Ultra I have run. Any recommendations for someone that trains in a flat sea level country (hello treadmill).

    The nice thing about the CCC is that I should be done in time to watch Mont Blanc finish with a beer in hand.

      1. Morgan Williams

        Bryon

        You could get seriously hammered in the final 200 metres if you put your mind to it! But you'd have a lot of pushing through crowds to do.

        Morgan

    1. swampy

      Bro,

      I train at sea level too. In order to beat the boredom, I drive for my long runs every week. A 3 hour drive seems really short after 25 miles in the mountains. Good luck my friend.

      Carter

      1. Matt

        The highest point in Denmark is 1700 ft or so. Luckily I work in a lab with a treadmill that you can set to 25% grade (or -5%) so that will be my main training, although I was not very disciplined on it last time I trained for a mountain event. I prefer real trails.

        That bar sounds awesome, motivation enough to run fast and get a good seat!!

        Anybody have recommendations about places to stay? Probably will go for the entire week before.

  5. OhCanada

    While he's not American, he's not too far from it…Gary Robbins also got through the lottery. If he's healthy he'll give it a go

  6. dogrunner

    With runnable weather should be an awesome race. Looking forward to your coverage Bryon, but with a start list like that, isn't someone with one of them newfangled POV cameras going to make a trailrunning documentary about this race ?? Please. For those of us stuck with indoor training during the extreme cold parts of winter, a long-form race coverage video would be great (tired of watching TourdeFrance dvds).

    Anyway, it'll be fun to see how this plays out.

  7. Morgan Williams

    Hi Bryon

    I've made it through the lottery too for CCC, so hope to get those last 18k done this time.

    As someone else has already said, we should be done, clean, rested and beer in hand to watch the big finish.

    Then I'll need to muster the strength to go back up to Flegere to cheer on some friends who will be a wee bit behind Kilian, Geoff and co.

    Cheers.

    Morgan

  8. Brant

    This seems to be one hell of an epic run. Wish i had the money to travel just to watch and or run. But I will be here state side keeping with with webposts cheering on our American Elites.

  9. Franzi68

    Dawa Sherpa confirmed at last year's Grand Raid de la Reunion that this was his last ultra above 100km.

    Which does not mean we won't see him ranking high in shorter trails.

    If you haven't, grab a copy of his story as book+DVD called the 5 lives of Dawa, while being in France: http://www.outdoor-editions.fr/catalog/popup_imag

    Can't wait till the Irunfar live coverage…

  10. jaybob

    Is Michael Wardian going to run it this year? I read in an interview last year he was wanting to run in 2011 but maybe he's focusing on his Olympic Trials marathon qualifier? anyone know if he can still get in the race?

    1. Bryon Powell

      I've not caught up with Wardian in a little while, but I'd be surprised if he ran UTMB this year given that the course would not suit his strengths and, more import, the race is just two weeks before the world 100k championships.

      It is likely that Wardian could get in at a later time. As I've noted, TNF runners are conspicuously absent from the list of registered runners (Hal Koerner excepted) and I know a number them who will be running (i.e., Helen Cospolich and Mike Wolfe).

  11. David Wakefield

    Definitely a battle royal in France. So you've shared the list of favorites Bryon but do you have a favorite for the overall men and women? Being partial to Salomon myself. My gut is telling me that Kilian will be tough to beat but I expect to see Jurek, Roes, Heras, Lorblanchet and Wolfe in the hunt for a spot somewhere on the podium. As for the women. I gotta pick Krissy Moehl all the way for the whole enchilada. Just curious to see what your thinking?

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