2015 Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc Top Entrants Announced

Ultra-Trail du Mont-BlancThe lottery for the 2015 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc has taken place! Lottery draws/entrants lists for its sister races, the CCC, TDS, PTL, and OCC, were also announced today. Some 15,785 runners from 84 countries entered the lotteries/pre-registrations for these five races. This represents an increase of more than 1,700 individuals and 11 countries from 2014.

High-level athletes are generally considered separately, as the race administration holds a certain number of spots for them. A number of high-level athletes were additionally accepted into the race via the lottery.

Here you can search the full entrants list for all the races, and below we’ve pulled together a list of top contenders for the UTMB and a couple of its sister races, and we editorialize a bit on who is currently registered and who is not.

Please note that the UTMB allows late entries for high-level athletes and there are likely to be entries via the Ultra-Trail World Tour as well, so we’re certain that a number of elites whose names aren’t on the entrants list today will still start the race. This list, however, gives us a good baseline for who we’ll see at the pointy end of the field.

Editorial Notes on the UTMB (and Sister Races) Entrants Lists

While high-level runners will continue to be added to the UTMB (and its sister races) entrants lists between now and August, let’s take a moment to look at a few emerging leader themes.

Teams

First off, overall, there’s a striking absence of The North Face male and female athletes who’ve populated these races heartily over the years, clearly an indication of the changing of the UTMB’s sponsor guards. Though Columbia (and therefore Montrail and Mountain Hardwear) have taken over high-level race sponsorship, we don’t note representation of their sponsored athletes. As per usual, there’s a scarcity of Salomon-sponsored athletes in comparison to the number of them who exist around the world. Notably, as we mention in our men’s notes below, it looks like the USA-based Nike Trail Team is looking to make their presence known in Chamonix, France this year.

Men

On the men’s side, there’s a notable turnover of men from the previous year’s top 10. That is, this year’s top 10 is going to look a whole lot different than in 2014. Clear, early favorites emerging from the entrants list are Frenchman Xavier Thevenard, who stormed a win at the 2013 UTMB and then won the 2014 TDS without challenge, and American Sage Canaday, who has so far showed supreme talent up to the 100k distance and who will make UTMB his debut 100 miler. Other top men from the USA will include 100-mile master Jeff Browning, the always strong Dave Mackey, a guy who always races smart, Jorge Maravilla, Joe Grant, and David Laney. Top international men include Adam Campbell, of Canada, and Gediminus Grinius (Lithuania).

Notably, it looks like the USA men are looking to storm the CCC sister race, particularly the Nike Trail Team.

Women

Like the men, there’s strong turnover of the women’s 2014 top 10. While we wait for more high-level runners to enter the race in the coming months, we can see that early favorites are Stephanie Howe (USA), who was the 2014 Western States 100 Champion; Spain’s Uxue Fraile, who finished fifth here last year; and Italy’s Lisa Borzani, who finished second at the 2014 TDS and then took second at the Tor des Géants less than two weeks later. American Amy Sproston, who finished eighth here in 2012, has all the potential to podium on the UTMB stage.

Top American Women – 2015 UTMB

Here are the women from the USA who could go top 15:

  • Denise Bourassa
  • Stephanie Howe
  • Maddie Hribar
  • Amy O’Connell
  • Amy Sproston

Top American Men – 2015 UTMB

Here are the USA men who we think have a shot at the top-25 positions:

  • Dan Barger
  • Jeff Browning
  • Sage Canaday
  • Jamil Coury
  • Ryan Ghelfi
  • Michele Graglia
  • Joe Grant
  • Dominic Grossman
  • Fabrice Hardel
  • Lars Kjerengtroen
  • David Laney
  • Eric Lee
  • Dave Mackey
  • Jorge Maravilla
  • Sean Meissner
  • Ryan Smith
  • Michael Versteeg
  • Zach Violett

Top International Women – 2015 UTMB

These are the international women who we think could finish in the women’s top 15:

  • Ester Alves (Portugal) — 8th 2014 UTMB
  • Lisa Borzani (Italy)
  • Caroline Chaverot (France)  — Winner 2013 CCC
  • Stacey Cleveland (Canada)
  • Gill Fowler (Australia)
  • Uxue Fraile (Spain) — 5th 2014 UTMB
  • Luciana Moretti (Argentina)
  • Claire Nedelec (La Réunion)
  • Susana Simoes (Portugal)
  • Shona Stephenson (Australia)
  • Sylvia Trigueros (Spain)
  • Manuela Vilaseca (Brazil)

Top International Men – 2015 UTMB

These are the international male athletes who have a chance of going top 25:

  • Vajin Armstrong (New Zealand)
  • Sebastien Buffard (France) – 9th 2012 UTMB
  • Adam Campbell (Canada)
  • Erik Clavery (France) — 2011 IAU Trail World Champion
  • Kim Collison (United Kingdom)
  • Terry Conway (United Kingdom)
  • Matthias Dippacher (Germany)
  • Javier Dominguez (Spain) — 3rd 2013 UTMB
  • François Faivre (France) — 9th 2011 UTMB, 7th 2012 UTMB
  • Alister Gardner (Canada)
  • Ivan Geronazzo (Italy) — 20th 2014 UTMB
  • Paul Giblin (United Kingdom)
  • Gediminus Grinius (Lithuania)
  • John Ellis (Australian living in Hong Kong)
  • Hiroki Ishikawa (Japan)
  • Danny Kendall (United Kingdom)
  • Keita Kobayashi (Japan)
  • Nuno Manuel Mendes Da Silva (Portugal) — 12th 2014 UTMB
  • Matt Moroz (United Kingdom living in Hong Kong)
  • Shunsuke Okunomiya (Japan)
  • John Tidd (USA living in Spain) — 15th 2014 UTMB
  • Samir Tamang (Nepal)
  • Xavier Thevenard (France) — 2013 UTMB Champion

Notable Women Not Currently on the 2015 UTMB List

Here are the women from last year’s top 10 who are not currently on the 2015 UTMB entrants list, or the entrants lists of any of its sister races:

  • Rory Bosio (USA) — 2013 and 2014 UTMB Champion
  • Núria Picas (Spain) — 2nd 2013 and 2014 UTMB
  • Nathalie Mauclair (France) — 3rd 2014 UTMB
  • Fernanda Maciel (Brazil) — 4th 2014 UTMB
  • Ildiko Wermescher (Hungary) — 6th 2014 UTMB
  • Emily Richards-Chisolm (USA) — 9th 2014 UTMB

And some more women who have, over the years, finished well at UTMB and who are not on the entrants lists for the 2015 UTMB or any of its sister races:

  • Meghan Arbogast (USA)
  • Francesca Canepa (Italy)
  • Helen Cospolich (USA)
  • Katia Fori (Italy)
  • Lizzy Hawker (Switzerland)
  • Audrey Meyer (France)
  • Emma Roca (Spain)
  • Maria Semerjian (France)

Notable Men Not Currently on the 2015 UTMB List

Here are the men from last year’s top 10 who are not currently on the 2015 UTMB entrants list, or the entrants lists of any of its sister races. In short, only one man from last year’s top 10 is currently planning to return, Gediminus Grinius:

  • François D’Haene (France) — 2014 UTMB Champion
  • Tòfol Castanyer (Spain) — 2nd 2014 UTMB
  • Iker Karrera (Spain) — 2nd 2014 UTMB
  • Jason Schlarb (USA) — 4th 2014 UTMB
  • Andrew Tuckey (Australia) — 6th 2014 UTMB
  • Sondre Amdahl (Norway) — 7th 2014 UTMB
  • Carlos Sá (Portugal) — 8th 2014 UTMB
  • Bertrand Collomb-Patton (France) — 9th 2014 UTMB
  • Stéphane Brogniart (France) — 10th 2014 UTMB

And some more men who have finished well at UTMB in recent years and who are not on the 2015 UTMB entrants list, or the entrants list of any sister races:

  • Jez Bragg (United Kingdom)
  • Jonas Buud (Sweden)
  • Sebastien Chaigneau (France)
  • Julian Chorier (France)
  • Mike Foote (USA)
  • Miguel Heras (Spain)
  • Kilian Jornet (Spain)
  • Tsuyoshi Kaburaki (Japan)
  • Arnaud Lejeune (France)
  • Thomas Lorblanchet (France)
  • Timothy Olson (USA)
  • Mike Wolfe (USA)

Notable Women on the 2015 Sister Races Entrants Lists

CCC

  • Sonia Escuriola (Spain)
  • Sandi Nypaver (USA)
  • Mira Rai (Nepal)
  • Alicia Shay (USA)

TDS

  • Juliette Blanchet (France)
  • Stephanie Case (Canada)
  • Andrea Huser (France) — 7th 2014 UTMB
  • Delphine Roux (France)

Notable Men on the 2015 Sister Races Entrants Lists

CCC

  • Dylan Bowman (USA)
  • Zach Miller (USA)
  • Sebastien Nain (France)
  • Diego Pazos (Switzerland) — 11th 2014 UTMB
  • Philipp Reiter (Germany)
  • Brian Tinder (USA)
  • Tim Tollefson (USA)
  • Chris Vargo (USA)
  • Alex Varner (USA)

TDS

  • Jordi Bes (Spain)
  • Cyril Cointre (France)
  • Anton Guillon (France)

Call for Comments

  • Group think time! Which top entrants did we miss? With thousands of names to sift through, we’re sure we missed a couple key runners. Let us know if you think someone should be included on these lists.
  • Who do you think will be competing for men’s and women’s wins?
  • Who would you most like to see added to the field?
  • Did you gain entry to this year’s UTMB or one of its sister races? Tell us about how excited you are to visit the Mont Blanc environs this summer!
Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com’s Senior Editor, the author of ‘Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,’ and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world’s wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

There are 37 comments

    1. Meghan Hicks

      Emir,

      I’m not sure ‘boycotting’ is the right word. With The North Face as the highest-level UTMB sponsor for so many years, TNF-sponsored athletes no doubt had great opportunities for financial support to race it. My guess is that this budget is being directed elsewhere now, so it’s not as financially easy for a TNF athlete who wants to run UTMB to do so. Salomon runners are always more Skyrunning focused, as the company is a sponsor of the international Skyrunning series. And Montrail/Mountain Hardwear has lost some key members of its ultrarunning team, and they were already small to start with, so I’m guessing their absence is a numbers game. The Nike Trail Team is going to be heavily represented, especially at the CCC. I have no doubt that this a conscious choice on their part.

      1. TropicalJohn

        One can only hope that this isn't the beginning of the "shoe wars" that dominate the road running and marathon circuits. But it certainly has that look.

        1. Ben_Nephew

          Well, if these shoe wars are associated with a major commitment to supporting athletes and building competitive fields, I'm not sure I'd have much of a problem with that. I think this development at UTMB underscores a major issue with competitive ultrarunning right now. Competitive fields depend on companies paying to send athletes to events, which is backwards and results in what you see here when event sponsors overlap with athlete sponsors. Events should be supporting competitive fields. This requires either some sort of governing body, or events that have enough financial support to support bringing in runners. The latter seems unlikely to occur in the U.S. due to 1. the size restrictions on many races 2. an inability to attract a major corporate sponsor (John Hancock, Bank of America, etc.) 3. outsourced for-profit race management (The North Face). I think the competitiveness of many races is a testament of the desire of athletes for competitive events and the scarcity of events that offer substantial prize money.

        2. @SageCanaday

          It seems that Montrail (and the "Montrail cup" races) does/do limit which top runners qualify for WS100 though? I haven't been around long enough to know much about the "shoe wars" that dominate road running and marathon circuits… as the only thing I've really seen in those circles is that Nike has a chokehold on the USATF and wearing more than one 3" logo at the Olympic Trials is an absolute "no no" that gets you a lot of black, electrical tape strips on your uniform! Forget about running shirtless on the track and road as well…

      2. Ben_Nephew

        Hi Megan,

        Any thoughts on Nike sending several athletes to the CCC? Compared to UTMB, it is not very competitive, and sending several top athletes to one B level race doesn't seem like an efficient use of team funds. It is Nike, so it may not matter. Salomon always does a good job of maximizing the visibility of their individual athletes by sending them to different major races that suit their strengths. If I was making a trip to Europe, I wouldn't want to be going all that way for a sister event.

        1. Meghan Hicks

          Ben,

          Pure speculation, but I’d guess it’s about raising brand awareness to other UTMB attendees/the race admin/the whole UTMB scene, and getting the team ‘experienced’ in Euro racing. So far it looks like seven Nike Trail Team athletes are committed to UTMB and CCC. Ryan Ghelfi and David Laney in UTMB both have one 100-mile finish, while only Alex Varner among the CCC crew has a 100-mile finish. CCC is an 11-plus-hour race for the men and 14-plus hours for the women; that’s going to be a very long day for the likes of Alicia Shay, Tim Tollefson, and Zach Miller, who have only runnable 50 milers/100ks, six to eight hours of racing, under their belts. Chris Vargo’s run the UROC 100k (Colorado version), which is a race that has loads of time on feet, maybe nine-something hours? I know at least a couple of these runners will get in another one or two longer races between now and then, but it’s probably a wise move to put the members of the team who haven’t run 100s or who haven’t run a long time-on-feet race into the CCC where they are much more likely to be successful, compared to the UTMB. My guess, maximize their athletes’ current ability, have them gain valuable experience in a less extreme environment, and bring awareness to the Nike Trail brand. Your thoughts? Anyone from Nike care to share what went into the CCC-stronghold-attempt decision?

          1. Ben_Nephew

            It is sounding like a team meeting with some good food! That is a lot of firepower in one spot, certainly not enough room on that CCC podium for everyone! I was thinking along similar lines as you, but you could address the same goals, possibly more effectively, by hitting different races. A team meeting would then require a lot of skyping, though.

    1. Meghan Hicks

      msmidt,

      Kilian Jornet isn’t registered for UTMB, and we’ve already listed him in the ‘notable men not running UTMB’ category. I don’t believe Kilian has announced his full 2015 schedule, but we know it includes his Everest speed-record bid during the climbing season there this spring, and the Hardrock 100.

  1. BrianTinder

    Well, after my 2014 CCC performance I'm not a notable but I am running it again this year. I'm excited to have more American company.

    1. @SageCanaday

      100 miles scares me to death Ben! This race could be an epic disaster for me (and that's even if I can make it to the finish line!).

      But I want the full returning field and everyone to show up….I like the most competitive fields (even if that means getting my butt kicked more). I'm really bummed a lot of the big names are listed as not coming back (yet).

        1. steeltownrunner

          confirmed that Krar plans to run (though name is not on entrant list). He mentioned tonight in NYC that he intends to race UTMB

      1. steeltownrunner

        Which scares you more – 100 mountain miles or 100 miles on the track? Bitter is looking for some competition…. (though he did practice on trails first too ;) )

        1. @SageCanaday

          um, 100 miles in the mountains for sure. The track is fast and flat and there are aid station options every quarter mile! Just the sheer amount of time running on a surface like that makes 100-miles sound a lot more doable.

  2. girlontrail

    Boy do I miss the days when people did this sport for the experience and there was no pitting, pushing, comparing.
    Best of luck to all the runners who got in; both 'notable' and the not so notable(?) I hope you ALL enjoy every moment.

    1. steeltownrunner

      At no point in the sports history did elites not race each other. It is true that not every elite runner raced the competition 30 years ago, but that's equally true now. Throughout the sport's history there has been stiff competition – perhaps more so in the 'good old days.' Ted Corbitt, Park Barner, Nick Marshall, Jack Bristol, Ray Krolowicz (sp?), Ann Trason, Roy Pirrung, Frank Bozanich, Barney Klecker, David Horton, Yiannis Kouros – are a smattering of just a few of the competitive runners of yesteryear (and some, to this very day).

      In fact, there may be more elite runners now who do this 'for the experience' than there used to be.

  3. @runwillt

    While this year's UTMB entrants list of USA men may not feel as star-studded as years past. I think we are sending some true veterans that can get the job done. Listed above in this article is the names of almost 20 USA men that we feel have a chance to finish in the top 25 places. While we know not everyone will have their perfect race and that the USA won't occupy 20 of the 25 tops spots, I think it is safe to say that with this group the 10th USA male to cross the finish line could easily finish in the top 100 finishers and well under 28 hours. That may not seem like an amazing accomplishment and representation from the USA males, but compare that to years past with our USA star-studded rosters and its quite surprising that in the last 3 years of the full UTMB course, the 10th place USA male has crossed the finish line in 32+, 36+ & 41 hours finishing in 164th, 415th, & 520th place. Quite a disappointment from such hopeful past entrants lists. Go get em guys. This is our year to show UTMB that we are tough and can finish what we start. I on the other hand am excited to finally take a lap around Mt. Blanc and hope to represent in true mid-pack fashion.

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