It was a long, wet night in the French valleys alongside Mont Blanc where 2,000+ runners took part in a revised 104-kilometer version of The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. The weather and 6,000 meters (20,000′) of climbing challenged all.
As with every European ultramarathon, the pace went out hot and heavy from the start and runners seemed unbothered by the uncooperative weather. Contrary to what often happens, however, two of the early men’s and women’s leaders became the men’s and women’s race winners, François d’Haene (post-race interview) and Lizzy Hawker (post-race interview).
You can find our full play-by-play of the race as well as a collection of our pre-race interviews and preview on our 2012 TNF UTMB Live Coverage page.
As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to UTMB-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports.
2012 TNF UTMB Men’s Race
In the men’s race, the peloton was let out by François d’Haene, Jean-Yves Rey, and Carlos Sa. Playing chase at Saint Gervais, km 20.88, included Miguel Heras, Jonas Buud, Csaba Nemeth, and Sebastien Chaigneau. After the crew made their loop through Val Montjoie and returned for the second time to the aid station at Les Contamines, D’Haene had broken off the front of the masses, and so had Buud. D’Haene and Buud continued to grind out their respective leads, with D’Haene also building his break from Buud. These fellas’ maintained their positions all the way through the finish, though D’Haene lost a little ground on his lead over Buud as he neared the finish line.
Putting a strong showing in the best-race-tactics-of-the-year category was Mike Foote (pre-race and post-race interviews). For at least half the race, Foote sat out of the top 10 men and even in the low teens for his overall place. Slowly, surely, and what appeared to be methodically and intentionally, Foote worked his way up through the men’s rankings until he simply ran out of real estate to move up any more at the finish. This is what you call running your own race, and that led him to a sweet 3rd-place finish, a coveted podium spot, and all the glory of finishing for the second year in a row as the top American.
After working hard and seemingly strong all night, Euro fan-favorite Seb Chaigneau experienced myriad challenges that he rendered insurmountable by Argentiere at km 93.38. There he dropped after his eyesight failed (He’s recovering well.).
2012 TNF UTMB 100 Men’s Official Results
- François d’Haene (Salomon – France) – 10:32:36 (post-race interview)
- Jonas Buud (Sweden) – 11:03:19
- Mike Foote (The North Face – USA) – 11:19:00 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Carlos Sa (Berg – Portugal) – 11:22:39
- Csaba Nemeth (Hungary) – 11:37:18
- Jean-Yves Rey (Salomon – Switzerland) – 11:43:48
- François Faivre – 11:51:32
- Arnaud Lejeune (Hoka One One – France) – 11:53:17
- Sébastien Buffard (France) – 11:57:47
- Tsuyoshi Kaburaki (The North Face – Japan) – 12:03:04
Other Notable North American Finishes (with overall place)
- 32nd Luke Nelson (Patagonia/UltrAspire – USA) – 13:18:52
- 34nd Topher Gaylord (Mountain Hardwear/Montrail – USA) – 13:21:18
- 53rd Gary Robbins (Montrail – Canada) – 13:54:53
2012 TNF UTMB Women’s Race
By Les Houches, which was roughly 9 kilometers along the revised course, Lizzy Hawker was already off the front of the women’s field. She basically played games of chase with the boys all night, knifing out an almost 50-minute lead over any other woman and a 16th place overall finish by the time she returned to Chamonix. Not bad for a woman who told us she was in some pain a little over halfway through the race. With this domination, that makes five UTMB wins for Hawker out of the 10 editions held.
The second and third place ladies, Francesca Canepa and Emma Roca, also stepped into their respective positions by Saint Gervais (20.88km) and stayed there. As for the rest of the top 10 women, many of their places with respect to each other seemed like a helter skelter juggling routine, shuffling and switching all night long. In the end, early top 10 contenders, like Karine Herry, dropped from the top of the pack while the strong finishers, such as Rory Bosio (pre-race and post-race interviews), Magdalena Lakzak, and Fernanda Maciel, solidified their top spots during the final 30 kilometers of the race.
2012 TNF UTMB 100 Women’s Unofficial Results
- Lizzy Hawker (The North Face – Switzerland) – 12:32:13 (post-race interview)
- Francesca Canepa (Vibram – Italy) – 13:17:01
- Emma Roca (Buff – Spain) – 13:23:37
- Rory Bosio (The North Face – USA) – 13:43:10 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Katia Fori (Tecnica – Italy) – 13:58:25
- Magdalena Laczak (Inov-8 – Poland) – 14:07:50
- Fernanda Maciel (The North Face – Brazil) – 14:12:01
- Amy Sproston (Montrail – USA) – 14:13:35
- Emelie Lecomte (Quechua – France) – 14:35:54
- Nerea Martinez (Salomon – Spain) – 14:58:59
Other Notable North American Finishes (with women’s place)
- 12th Meghan Arbogast (Sunsweet – USA) – 15:14:25
- 14th Krissy Moehl (Patagonia/UltrAspire – USA) – 15:25:57
- 17th Helen Cospolich (The North Face – USA) – 15:57:36
- 31st Stephanie Case (Canada) – 18:48:25
2012 TNF UTMB Articles, Race Reports, and More
- Dakota Jones’ spectator report
Runner’s World slide show[broken link removed]
- Meghan Arbogast (12th)