2014 TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) Results

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc smWith their respective wins at the 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-BlancRory Bosio (post-race interview) repeated as women’s champion and François D’Haene (post-race interview) added yet another notch to his growing list of major international ultramarathon wins.

In addition to this article, 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 2014 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.

Ps. To get all the latest ultra news from iRunFar.com, subscribe via RSS or email.

2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc starting line

2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc starting line. Photo: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein

2014 TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Men’s Race

Front start to finish, the men’s race seemed to run like a master class put on by winner François D’Haene. At every glimpse we had of him between the start and La Fouly at 108k, François led or shared the lead with other men, with what seemed like almost no effort, physical or emotional. Then, between La Fouly and Champex-Lac and 122k, he acted quickly and decisively, putting a more-than-10-minute gap on the rest of the men’s field in only 14 kilometers. In doing so, François literally and figuratively slammed the textbook shut and schooled every other dude in the race. In the race’s final 40-odd kilometers, François built an additional lead on the field and a buffer on the previous course record held by last year’s champ Xavier Thevenard. In the end, his 20:11:44 was a new record by 22-ish minutes and a gap of almost 45 minutes to any other runner. If there was any doubt as to François’s ability with longer, mountainous ultras, there should be no more. He is among the world’s best in this realm.

Francois D'Haene, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc champion

Francois D’Haene, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc champion. Photo: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein

Tòfol Castanyer (post-race interview) ran the race with what looked like a plan: go out aggressively and stay aggressive all race long. He was among the leaders as early as Les Houches at 8k and as late as La Fouly at 122k. In fact, it was he, François, eventual third place Iker Karrera (post-race interview), and eventual DNF Luis Alberto Hernando who ran together as a group for the race’s first two thirds. All four men took turns leading and following within the group, and it seemed like all the men had highs and lows through which they worked together. Eventually Luis fell from the back of the group and François went off the front and it was Tòfol and Iker left together.

Tofol Castanyer and Iker Karrera, 2014 UTMB

Tòfol and Iker sharing the race. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

In an awesome example of teammate-ship and friendship, the pair ran pretty much together all the way to the finish. At times, one would pull ahead or the other would drop behind, but always they met up again. They crossed the line together as well in 20:55:42, declaring for themselves a tie for second place.

Tofol Castanyer and Iker Karrera, second place 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc

Tòfol Castanyer and Iker Karrera tying for second place. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Fourth-place finisher Jason Schlarb (post-race interview) had one hell of a race, totally textbook for how an American runner could do this race right. He started easy, seemingly unconcerned about the wild, fast, early-race antics, running close to 20th place. Slowly , surely he moved up until he was 12th place at Lac Combal at 64k and fourth place when he arrived to Champex-Lac at 122k. Jason finished with some challenge, namely pressure from behind from fifth-place finisher and strong closer Gediminas Grinius and his own body wearing out.

Sixth place as well as eighth through 10th places are occupied by individuals who started the race way outside the top 10 and who finished within it. This includes sixth place Andrew Tuckey, Carlos Sá in eighth, Bertrand Collomb-Patton in ninth, and Stéphane Brogniart in 10th. On the other end of the racing-style spectrum was Sondre Amdahl’s race story. He didn’t start near the front but it was only a few kilometers into the race that he made it there, and stayed there.

2014 TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Men’s Results

  • 1. François D’Haene (Salomon) — 20:11:44 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  • T-2. Tòfol Castanyer (Salomon) — 20:55:42 (post-race interview)
  • T-2. Iker Karrera (Salomon) — 20:55:42 (post-race interview)
  • 4. Jason Schlarb (Altra/Smartwool) — 21:39:44 (post-race interview)
  • 5. Gediminas Grinius (Inov-8) — 21:50:04
  • 6. Andrew Tuckey (The North Face) — 22:40:26
  • 7. Sondre Amdahl — 22:42:37
  • 8. Carlos Sá (Berg) — 22:50:07
  • 9. Bertrand Collomb-Patton — 22:51:54
  • 10. Stéphane Brogniart (The North Face) — 22:57:05

Full results.

2014 TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Women’s Race

Rory Bosio, oh Rory, what can we say about you except thank you for kicking the pants off a European race for the rest of us who haven’t figured out how to do these kinds of things just right. Rory didn’t lead from the get go; she instead let the early pushers of eventual second place Núria Picas (post-race interview) and third place Nathalie Mauclair (post-race interview) do the heavy lifting. At every point in which we saw Rory in the race’s beginning third, she seemed content to hang on the proverbial shoulders of someone in front of her. Then, it seemed that her party line switched, and she put herself in the leadership position such that she was in it by several minutes already at Arnuva at 95k. Never did she relinquish her lead either, though she did have at least a couple rough patches along the way that slowed her from the record pace she was pushing for a while. Rory already won the hearts of the Euro endurance world with her first UTMB win last year, and this time she has sealed the deal on their love with her second UTMB win in a row.

Rory Bosio - 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc champion

Rory Bosio, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc champion. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

I can’t help but think that Núria Picas really wanted the UTMB win after playing bridesmaid last year. Though Nathalie Mauclair did much of the actual early leading, it wasn’t long before Núria found her way into the lead, which she would hold onto for the race’s second third. When we saw her in early aid stations, such as Lac Combal at 64k, she was real, real serious, instead of the calm casual she usually runs with. It seemed she was in a serious-work mindset even early on. After the race’s first third, Rory took her lead back and kept it. It should be noted that, while Núria couldn’t compete with Rory’s talent and drive on the day, she did set herself apart from the rest of the field, finishing close to an hour in front of all the other women. She is an UTMB bridesmaid once more, still an awesome position to be in.

Nuria Picas, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc second place

Núria at La Floria just before finishing the 2014 TNF UTMB. Photo: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein

Nathalie Mauclair is always a pleasure to watch race. She usually starts aggressively and stays there as long as she can. Today was no different. Though Nathalie ran in the lead or in second place for a portion of the race, she eventually slid into third place where she would stay until the race’s end.

Nathalie Maulcair, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc third place

Nathalie Maulcair, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc third place. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

With strong performances, Fernanda Maciel and Uxue Fraile rounded out the top five. Sixth place through 10th place were Ildiko Wermescher, Andrea Huser, Ester Alves, Emily Richards-Chisolm, and Shona Stephenson.

2014 TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Women’s Results

  1. Rory Bosio (The North Face) — 23:23:20 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  2. Núria Picas (Buff) — 24:54:29 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  3. Nathalie Mauclair (La Fuma) — 25:47:35 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  4. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) — 26:05:47 (pre-race interview)
  5. Uxue Fraile (Vibram) — 26:22:19
  6. Ildiko Wermescher (Mammut) — 27:47:52
  7. Andrea Huser — 28:20:24
  8. Ester Alves — 28:39:01
  9. Emily Richards-Chisolm — 29:11:29
  10. Shona Stephenson (Inov-8) — 30:04:21

Full results.

2014 TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Articles, Race Reports, and More

Articles and Photo Galleries

Post-Race Interviews

Race Reports

  • Jason Schlarb (4th man) [broken link removed]
  • Anton Krupicka (47th overall)

Thank You

A massive team of people helped bring you live coverage of the 2014 UTMB! Thanks so much to Kirsten Kortebein, Tim Peeters, Ian Campbell, Paul Charteris, Donielle Wolfe, Chris Wolfe, Francois Tornier, Ashok Daniel, Moses Lovstad, Ellie Greenwood, Travis Liles, Andy Jones-Wilkins, Aliza Lapierre, Kim Wrinkle, Ran Katzman, Travis Liles, Leon Lutz, and Nick Pedatella.

Muchas gracias! Además de agradecer a todos los colaboradores que estuvieron en el circuito ayudándonos, sumamos las gracias a Max Keith, Rodrigo Lizama y Daniel Torres por su ayuda en la traducción de la cobertura hecha por iRunFarES.

Resultados TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2014

Con sus respectivos triunfos en la The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2014, Rory Bosio hace su doblete, y François D’Haene añade un triunfo más a su creciente lista de grandes carrera internacionales.
Estaremos actualizando este artículo con resultados completos, como también con artículos relacionados a la competencia, galerías de fotos y reportes de carrera.

TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2014 – Carrera masculina

Desde el comienzo hasta el final, la carrera entre los hombres se dio como una obra maestra dibujada por el ganador François D’Haene. Cada vez que pudimos observarlo entre la salida y La Fouly (108k), François lideraba o compartía dicho liderato con otro hombre, y parecía no estarse esforzando ni física ni emocionalmente. Luego, entre La Fouly y Champex-Lac y 122k transcurridos, actuó rápida y decisivamente, estableciendo una diferencia de más de 10 minutos del resto del lote en sólo 14 kilómetros. Habiendo hecho esto, François prácticamente selló la historia y se lo dejó en claro a los demás hombres. En los últimos 40 kilómetros de competencia, François amplió su ventaja sobre el resto del lote y también sobre el récord de circuito establecido por el campeón del año pasado, Xavier Thevenard. Al final, su tiempo de 20:11:44 es el nuevo récord de circuito por casi 22 minutos respecto al anterior, y le dio una diferencia de 45 minutos sobre los demás corredores. Si quedaba alguna duda de la habilidad de François en las ultras largas y montañeras, ya no debería existir. Está junto a los mejores del mundo en esta especialidad.

Francois D'Haene, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc champion

François D’Haene, campeón de The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2014. Foto: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein

Tófol Castanyer corrió en base a un plan: salir agresivamente, y mantenerse agresivo toda la carrera. Se conectó con los líderes temprano en Les Houches (8k) y se mantuvo hasta tarde en La Fouly (122k). De hecho, fueron él, François, Iker Karrera y quién luego abandonaría, Luis Alberto Hernando, los que corrieron en grupo en los primeros dos tercios de carrera. Los cuatro hombres se turnaron el liderato del grupo, y parecía que todos iban teniendo altibajos mientras trabajaban en conjunto. Eventualmente, Luis quedó retrasado del grupo y François partió en solitario, dejando a Tófol e Iker juntos.

Tofol Castanyer and Iker Karrera, 2014 UTMB

Iker y Tòfol compartiendo la carrera. Foto: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

En un espectacular ejemplo de compañerismo y amistad, los dos corrieron juntos todo el camino hasta la meta. Por momentos, uno se apartaría delante y el otro caería detrás, pero siempre se volvían a encontrar. Cruzaron la meta juntos en 20:55:42, declarando ellos mismos el empate por el segundo lugar.

Tofol Castanyer and Iker Karrera, second place 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc

Tòfol Castanyer e Iker Karrera empatando el segundo lugar. Foto: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

El corredor que ocupó el cuarto escalón en la general, Jason Schlarb, tuvo una excelente carrera, dejando escrito como debe hacer esta carrera correctamente un corredor Estadounidense. Comenzó tranquilo, despreocupado de los corredores que se apresuraron en los primeros kilómetros, alrededor del 20º lugar. Con calma, fue escalando puestos hasta ubicarse 12º en Lac Combal (64k) y luego 4º en Champex-Lac (122k). Jason finalizó desafiado, o si quieren decirle presionado, por la fortaleza de quién arribaría quinto y cerca de él, Gediminas Grinius, como también por su cansado cuerpo.

El sexto lugar, como también del octavo al décimo, lo ocuparon individuos que comenzaron la carrera muy lejos del top 10 y finalizaron dentro de él. Esto incluye a Andrew Tuckey en sexto lugar, a Carlos Sá en octavo, Bertrand Collomb-Patton en noveno, y Stéphane Brogniart en 10º. La carrera de Sondre Amdahl entra en el polo opuesto de la historia. No comenzó cerca de los puestos de vanguardia, pero apenas unos kilómetros después logró colocarse delante, y así se mantuvo todo el tiempo.

Resultados Masculinos TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

  • 1. François D’Haene (Salomon) — 20:11:44 (pre-race y post-race entrevistas)
  • T-2. Tòfol Castanyer (Salomon) — 20:55:42 (post-race entrevista)
  • T-2. Iker Karrera (Salomon) — 20:55:42 (post-race entrevista)
  • 4. Jason Schlarb (Altra/Smartwool) — 21:39:44 (post-race entrevista)
  • 5. Gediminas Grinius (Inov-8) — 21:50:04
  • 6. Andrew Tuckey (The North Face) — 22:40:26
  • 7. Sondre Amdahl — 22:42:37
  • 8. Carlos Sá (Berg) — 22:50:07
  • 9. Bertrand Collomb-Patton — 22:51:54
  • 10. Stéphane Brogniart (The North Face) — 22:57:05

TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2014 – Carrera femenina

Rory Bosio, oh Rory, que podemos decir de ti además de agradecerte por haber logrado destrozar una carrera Europea para nosotros que nunca supimos cómo hacer bien este tipo de cuestiones.  Rory no lideró desde el principio, ella dejó que las que empujen desde el principio y hagan el trabajo duro sean las que luego ocuparían el segundo lugar, Núria Picas, y el tercer lugar, Nathalie Mauclair. En cada punto del primer tercio de carrera donde pudimos ver a Rory, se la vio contenta de moverse en las sombras de alguien frente a ella. Luego, parecía que su fiesta había comenzado y se colocó en el liderato a tal punto que en Arnuva (95k), tenía varios minutos de ventaja sobre las demás. Nunca renunció a su liderato aunque tuvo unos momentos duros en el camino, que la ralentizaron del ritmo de récord que llevó por unos minutos. Rory ya se había ganado los corazones del mundo Europeo de las Ultras con su primer triunfo el año pasado en UTMB, y este año selló ese amor con su segundo triunfo consecutivo en la UTMB.

Rory Bosio - 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc champion

Rory Bosio, campeona de The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2014. Foto: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

No puedo evitar pensar que Núria Picas realmente quería su triunfo en UTMB tras jugar el papel de dama de honor el año pasado. Pese a que Nathalie Mauclair fue la que tomó las riendas de la carrera temprano, no paso mucho tiempo hasta que Núria se encontró con el liderato, que sostuvo hasta el segundo tercio de carrera. Cuando la vimos en los primeros avituallamientos, tales como Lac Combal a los 64k, estaba muy, muy seria, a diferencia de la calma que lleva siempre cuando compite. Parecía estar en un serio trabajo mental desde el principio. Luego del primer tercio de carrera, Rory recuperó su liderato y lo mantuvo.  Cabe destacar que, si bien Núria no pudo competir con el talento y la conducción de Rory de la jornada, si se apartó del resto del lote, finalizando casi una hora delante del resto de las mujeres. Ella es la dama de honor de la UTMB una vez más, que igualmente es una posición fantástica.

Nuria Picas, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc second place

Núria en La Floria, justo antes de finalizar TNF UTMB 2014. Foto: iRunFar/Kirsten Kortebein

Siempre es un placer ver competir a Nathalie Mauclair. Usualmente comienza de forma agresiva y se mantiene así lo mucho que pueda. Hoy no fue diferente. A pesar de haber corrido en liderato o en segundo lugar en una parte de la carrera, cayó al tercer lugar, que ocuparía hasta el final de la competencia.

Nathalie Maulcair, 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc third place

Nathalie Mauclair, tercer lugar en The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 2014. Foto: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Con un desempeño muy sólido, Fernanda Maciel y Uxue Fraile cerraron el top cinco. Del sexto al 10º lugar estuvieron Ildiko WermescherAndrea HuserEster AlvesEmily Richards-Chisolm, y Shona Stephenson.

Resultados Femeninos TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

  1. Rory Bosio (The North Face) — 23:23:20 (pre-race y post-race entrevistas)
  2. Núria Picas (Buff) — 24:54:29 (pre-race y post-race entrevistas)
  3. Nathalie Mauclair (La Fuma) — 25:47:35 (pre-race y post-race entrevistas)
  4. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) — 26:05:47 (pre-race entrevista)
  5. Uxue Fraile (Vibram) — 26:22:19
  6. Ildiko Wermescher (Mammut) — 27:47:52
  7. Andrea Huser — 28:20:24
  8. Ester Alves — 28:39:01
  9. Emily Richards-Chisolm — 29:11:29
  10. Shona Stephenson (Inov-8) — 30:04:21




Meghan Hicks

is the Managing Editor of iRunFar and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 72 comments

  1. francois_g

    Now you can't say anymore you didn't know about D'Haene's ability in the mountains… Sure in 2012 the course was truncated, but the field was not (or barely, actually, given some didn't start). But if that wasn't mountainous enough, check out the Grand Raid de la Reunion/Diagonale des Fous (I mean, check it out, really, iRF. Go there in october. Think La Palma is brutal? Ask Joe Grant :) ). That's where Francois really shone last year, leaving the second place almost 3h behind…
    I heard Kilian wanted to go back this year and take his revenge. Julien Chorier in Bryon's interview after Hardrock said it was his favorite race and he had checked it on his calendar this year too… Iker Karrera has an unsettled debt there too. Kaburaki san is on the entrants list, so is D'Haene… this should be epic.

    1. Ben_Nephew

      Buzz, the crazy thing is the overall success rates of Euro runners at US races vs. US runners at Euro races over the past 10 years or so. Could a good amount be a lack or race-specific training and/or lack of taper/over racing? With UTMB, the amount of climbing seems to be an issue, but the technicality of the trails or grades of the ups and downs pose problems for US runners at other Euro races.

    2. @EdmundCura

      We can credit Rory and Jason's success from spending months of training out there in Europe on the other hand most of the US runners try to cram up most of their training on UTMB course in a week or two not to mention most of them just worn themselves out from Hardrock 100, I say it really shows. I say we can expect a lot better result from these guys if they try to focus on this race alone or atleast get everything well prepared in time for this type of race.

        1. another_william

          I think the one thing that never seemed to abandon Tony (over the years) was his stomach. He had injuries, yes, but when his legs were fine, he had a chance to win any ultra he entered. Until two days ago, when his stomach shut down and his strategy of "give me 15 gels!" didn't work anymore.

          I mean that was always the beauty of his approach: it was so simple. Watching him and Kilian at aid stations during "Unbreakable" always gave me a good laugh. Kilian had all of these different foods and drinks laid out for him, while Joe Grant simply handed Tony fresh water and the aforementioned 15 gels. And it worked.

          You could really see/hear his frustration when he crossed the finish line yesterday. I don't think he expected his stomach to sabotage his race.

          1. Mic_Med

            It worked for second place in that race, yup. And then Kilian destroyed everybody the following year with all his fancy foods and drinks. And then Kilian, with all his different foods and drinks has continued to dominate the sport and every challenge he has presented himself with. And Tony has won the races he cherry picked…

        2. @EdmundCura

          Hi there, I believe Tony only arrive at Chamonix 2 weeks before race day after being confident of his shin issues, Im not quite sure about Mike Foote since his been there for over a month. Tony actually is having a great day until La fouly station at one point remember he told B.Powell that his feeling running the same splits that he did last year the 4 guys are guys running really faster, on his way to Champex lac, that's when his stomach starter having issues, as he could only afford to eat only 2 gels until Champex lac that started his decline, I just cant help but feel bad for him for his running a good race having no issues with his shin but ended up battling a bad stomach day. Same thing with Mike Foote for he has been performing consistently on top level with each race that he enters and this year's UMTB was just a pretty bad day for him feeling pretty low, I gues we just have to hope for that podium finish next year for a US runner

    3. BuzzBurrell

      Good thoughts Ben and Edmund. While it doesn't really matter, the longer it continues the more interesting the disparity becomes. Timmy (3rd!) and Jason (4th!) notwithstanding, Topher has probably been the top US Male, while either a US or UK Female has won 10 out of 12 UTMB's.

      All the Euro courses are generally harder – it's called "trail" running in the US and Canada and "mountain" running everywhere else for a reason – but technical proficiency becomes less of a factor when the pace goes down as the distance goes up. Rest or lack thereof I suppose is a possibility. Pure coincidence has to be considered.

      All I know is I don't know – and that this winter a lot of guys will be training hard for next year!

      1. francois_g

        actually in France it is called "ultra trail". But "ultra" doesn't start to be used right beyond marathon distance. The classification is somewhere around this:
        mountain running: below marathon distance, and including a certain elevation gain
        "short" trail: marathon to around 60k
        "long" trail: 60k to 100k
        "ultra" trail: 100k+

        some major differences though between, say, a wasatch or a hardrock, and UTMB, is the attendance (larger crowd on the trail, before and after the race) and the media coverage (i mean, it's not just iRF and ultralivesports anymore, you've got real TV following the runners at UTMB, choppers and whatnot). I'm wondering whether that plays a role in the burnout of US runners who are not used to both factors. Another thing is to know your competition. At states the elites know each other. When at UTMB (there aren't so many "ultra" trails in europe) the competition is always a big question mark, and another thing to manage. "your own race" is that much more difficult to run.

      2. Ben_Nephew

        When you consider the TNF race, WS, Leadville, Hardrock, it becomes difficult to call it coincidence. You do hear quite a bit about difficulty with traveling from US runners, GI issues, illness etc. Another possibility is training style. Sage has done quite well competing internationally, and he is one US runner who is talented at both short and long mountain races, similar to Rob Krar, Kilian and many other Euro runners. I'm not sure about all the top three at UTMB, but I think Tofol has done well at the shorter mountain races. AJW's comment about the US runners not starting too fast makes perfect sense when the US runners are 100m focused and Euro runners are faster at shorter distances. As has been pointed out, the top Euro 100m runners seem to be able to tolerate going out fast, but also have the endurance to not blow up after an aggressive start. Our guys that can run with Kilian, or close, at shorter distances, Krar, Gray, Sage, don't do 100's. Francois doesn't seem to race the short stuff, but does he do that type of quality training?

        1. @SageCanaday

          Hey thanks for the support Ben! However, I got my butt handed to me at Sierre-Zinal (just a short 20 miler!) and for sure found the mountains in Europe to be quite a bit different in terms of grade and distribution of hills/mountains. I think that running economy on variable terrain is the real key there and that comes down to musculature. Really hard to mimic that training stimulus in the US on the trails i've been on (even in Colorado!). If you look at past results lets not forget that Francois did get 2nd (to Miguel) at The North Face 50-mile champs in San Fran in 2012…the year the course was shortened to being closer to only 40 miles. That course is pretty runnable and fast compared to these longer things in the mountains. Furthermore, knowing Jason Schlarb from racing him at Chuckanut and Speedgoat he also has a pretty speedy background (running cross country races I believe). He did his homework out there in Europe and ran a great race. Without knowing what it's like to run a 100-miler I really can't say much on this topic, but it seems like we just haven't really had a very big sample size (in terms of runners with different backgrounds) mixing it up in Europe all that much yet. But I think that will start to change in the coming years as more MUT Runners are interested in moving up and competing with the Euros on their home turf. I know personally that I'd really like to try my hand at this type of race!

          1. Ben_Nephew

            First, I should have said that Rob hasn't raced a 100 in Europe. Sage, you've run 58 at Washington, won Speedgoat twice, and just won Pikes. Relative to the success rate of other US ultra runners internationally, I think it is fair to say that you have been successful than most at this point. Maybe the "even in Colorado" is a problem? They don't do as many switchbacks in Europe (or the Eastern US). I've seen a few western runners struggle with tolerating steep downhills. So it sounds like both Francois and Jason reinforce my point about having some sort of shorter speed training and/or background. If you look over the past 5-10 years, there have been tons of runners heading over to UTMB or other Euro ultras, the comment from Buzz wasn't based on the past couple of years. In terms of guys more similar to you and Krar, I agree about the small sample size. Our short distance mountain guys that have success racing in Europe don't tend to run ultras. This discussion gets at another relevant point, picking races that suit your abilities. How many times have you heard interviews after sub-par performances where someone mentions how different the race was compared to their typical training terrain? For a while, this was underscored by related comments about choosing the wrong shoe. In this regard, it is likely that the poor success rate of US runners is partially due to Euro runners inviting US runners (or US companies sending US runners to races that are a poor fit for the strengths). In contrast to this Salomon has a pretty good idea of what runners on their team fit what US races. Make that an insanely good idea. This is what happens when you have a team manager that is extremely familiar with elite level competition at that specific sport. Not much mystery there. Salomon also does well at sending US mountain runners over to European mountain races…..

        2. manu666667

          Yes François is a fast runner. 5 years ago he raced many sub-50km races in my area and won most of them very easily. Last year with little speed training and just before the Grand Raid Of Reunion he finished second in a road marathon (a not flat one that he did because it is wine related event) in a good 2 h 34 min 52 s…

    4. Jogwbaby

      who knows, all I know is there are some stark differences: Much bigger elite fields (at least for men), much faster starts from the gun, local terrain for the Euros, running a full night, more team racing, no pacers, much harder course than our usual.

    5. wnyates

      Maybe it is because the US women are better than the US men on an international level. Probably the unpopular comment but the US women seem to fair better against international competition then US men from the shorter Sky Running events to the ultra events in terms of a US woman winning a big international race. Could it be as simple as the US women are just better???

      1. Ben_Nephew

        There is some truth to this, as well as women's races not tending to have fields as deep as the men's races. I think what some are surprised at is the number of DNF's and top 5-10 finishes; the degree of the contrast between how Euro men do in the US vs. US men in Europe. Look at the bigger international ultra picture, in addition to the shorter mountain events. You have a pattern of male and female individual and team success at 100k and 24hr world championships. Compare that with UTMB and other Euro trail ultras that attract a lot of US male runners. The relative rates of
        success are very different.

    6. CharlieDalziell

      Andrew Tuckey had a great race this year. Travelled over from Australia (24 hour flight) a week or so before the race and came from 17th early on to finish 6th. He lives in Sydney which is (relatively) flat as a pancake and at sea level. Go figure?

    7. BuzzBurrell

      Thank you everyone for the excellent and thoughtful discussion! After reading all the good Comments, this would be my explanation of the vivid disparity in US Women vs Men performances over the 12 years of UTMB:

      1. The Euro Mens fields are very deep, experienced, talented, and competitive.
      2. The US became "100 mile obsessed" which IMHO created some really great joggers.
      3. It's possible US Men tend not to rest or focus properly for one singular marquee event.
      4. There is growing interest Stateside in more technical "mountain" events, but our experience is mostly in "trail" races.
      5. US Women have a strong and proud heritage, tend to be successful in everything they do from other sports to business, and Title lX was the real deal.


      1. olgav100

        I would also like to add that when US/UK women win, while lack of talent comparing to men's field might be true (anywhere, not only Euro vs US, as there are fewer women race ultras population-wise, so sampling is lower), however, those very women place very high in the WHOLE field. I think we just may be had very special breed of women who chose to travel to UTMB and bless US by being born in, well, US:)

      2. astroyam

        I think the smoothness of the steep long descents and ascents at UTMB require a quad resistance that is hard to develop when you are picking your way down rockier steep things, such as found in Colorado. If it's rocky and technical, you don't open up the speed as much as you can if it's not rocky. At UTMB, there evidently are many smooth and steep descents where you can really open it up and trash yourself if you haven't been doing that type of descending. In other words, sure technical descents are an important skill, but at UTMB just unhindered downhill flying is what kills the Americans. 2c.

      3. Ben_Nephew

        Watching Francois' interview made me wonder if the recent development of ultrarunning at the elite level has been good for the US. I'm not sure how much of a pattern it is, but you often hear of runners quitting their job to run full time, and then getting overtrained and/or injured. Francois has been doing well since he bought the vineyard. Maybe ultrarunners are more likely to overtrain if that is their only job?

  2. Andy

    Just want to send a big thank you to iRF and all the people and their enormous efforts that made today's coverage possible — even the one moderator who seemed obsessed with Western States :-) After years of following the site, this superlative UTMB coverage (best ever for any race ever, IMHO) finally guilted me into chipping in some "Euros" to support the great work you do.

    As an aside, the endless banter about Anton is an interesting social psychological study. He's a phenomenal athlete who was unlucky enough to become a folk hero too quickly, fueled by many factors including success, look, lifestyle, and the minimalist shoe zeitgeist. Dogged by injury the last couple years, he's done his best to stay out of the limelight, which has only fueled the feeding frenzy. Kudos to AK on a great finish today — a demonstration of true endurance and love for the mountains.

  3. francois_g

    on a side note i was wondering if anyone knew what was the armband (looks like an iphone armband case or something) that all elite runners were wearing on all races on the weekend. I doubt they were all carrying an ipod and it seemed like some kind of mandatory thing… maybe tracking device?

    Sorry if this has been addressed in the live coverage forum or anywhere else…

    1. another_william

      I believe it's the GPS device every runner had to wear. You could follow every runner's progress on a real time map on the UTMB website.

  4. Meghan Hicks


    Thanks for reading. This article was written after 42 hours of no sleep. In my saying that François is the world’s best in long mountain races, I only meant that he was among the two or three men who have multiple times proven their ability in that realm, in the last several years. I did not mean to say that he was better than those other men with whom I think he shares that relative ranking. At deanger’s suggestion, I added an ‘among’ to the sentence for clarification. Thanks all.

    1. deanger

      We're a tough crowd! :)

      Actually, I love the way the results articles read – especially the first pass. They have personality and make me feel like I was there. Now if we can only coax iRunFar to go to Reunion on the iRunFar private jet.

      Seriously, can't some Billionaire fall in love with this sport and hook them up?

            1. francois_g

              Enjoy the rest of your time there (even though sleep might be a good part of it after the outstanding coverage job you guys did) and run some on our behalf!
              I'll line up the in-laws in Reunion to find you a roof

    2. @trailrunz

      Can vouch for this ultra-marathon reporting effort. I fell asleep under a tree and rolled in some cow poo while Meghan was taking notes and snapping photos on the hill above Vallorcine. I honestly do not know how you and Bryon do it – your stamina is amazing. Thanks for letting me part of the team – Paul

  5. another_william

    Thanks a lot for the great coverage, Meghan and Bryon! One more question though: did Dakota's ankle flare up again? I'm just curious because at one point he was waiting for "his second wind", and then he wasn't mentioned anymore.

  6. EvanKimber

    Excellent coverage as always, Bryon and Meghan. I think Jason Schlarb continues to be the underrated US ultra runner. Nobody expected him to take a podium spot at Speedgoat '13, nobody was picking him to win RRR '13, and he was a rather small mention amidst the massive list of US hopefuls for this year's UTMB. I think he and Rory seem to really benefit by immersing themselves for this race, as opposed to many of the others who merely force it onto their calendars and hope to do well. The latter just seems to end in disaster. Also, do wonder how recovered folks like Dakota and Timmy Olson are trying to fare well at UTMB after Hardrock. For this, I wanted to also send praise to legend Scotty Mills who completed the Hardrock/UTMB double. Bravo! Last, being from the US, it is simply amazing to see what the crowd support and media coverage looks like over there! Holy moly – the whole ultra running scene operates under an entirely different premise/guise. The European ultra runners look more like cyclists or triathletes with their gear too!

    1. rich_sweden

      Having run in the Marathon du Mont Blanc this past June, which also fills the town with a few thousand runners or more over the long weekend of racing, the atmosphere in Chamonix is incredible to experience. Which is not to say that smaller mountain races here in Sweden (or the US) aren't also incredible – they are – just that they provide interesting and positive contrasts.

    1. another_william

      Fantastic videos. Thanks for the links!

      I mean, seriously: this is how to prepare for UTMB. Great, great job by Jason Schlarb.

  7. Jogwbaby

    Elite fields for women in Europe are smaller, relatively, than in the US while the men's elite fields are much, much deeper in Europe than here. This phenomenon of US women being more competitive on the world stage then their male counter parts is not exclusive to the the ulra running sport (i.e. soccer, cycling, etc.)

    1. SeanMeissner

      It was either the S-Lab Sense Ultra Set (3 liter capacity) or the S-Lab Sense Set (1 liter capacity). Get 'em while they're hot from the iRF Store (well, in February, anyway)!

  8. Obstreperous12

    I predicted the top 3 correctly (but in the wrong order) on the first thread. I thought all 3 of those guys, with their experience specific to this race and terrain, were guaranteed to run really fast times. I thought it was possible that some of the American superstars could run faster, but they would need everything to go right for them. I don't think an American male will win this race for many years. AK had the best chance last year but that won't come again.The field of European elites, who already know this tough course back-to-front, is just too deep.

    Really great coverage by the way!

  9. @irunup

    Specificity & Quality of Training + Talent = Degree of Success
    UTMB is all about steep grades and if you don't train in those conditions chances are you are not going to do as well as those with equal talent that do. It's not the airplane food or feeling homesick. When Killian says the trails are not steep in the US he is not being cocky, just honest. Having just finished UTMB I am looking forward to retuning to my flat trails in the Colorado mountains.

    1. EvanKimber

      <Having just finished UTMB I am looking forward to retuning to my flat trails in the Colorado mountains. >

      I'd say this is true with the exception of the San Juan's. Hardrock has more vertical than UTMB. TMR does too pound for pound.

  10. TrailTan

    I don't think the difference is with overall vertical, it's with steepness. For years the hardiest trail runners we had, including top Hard Rock performers, would go to UTMB and blow out their quads on the downhills. I don't believe @irunup was talking about race course trails either (e.g. HR100, TMR), when he mentioned his Colorado trails but I'd challenge anyone to say that the short Boulder Mt. Sanitas trail is flat (interestedly enough, Killian Journet holds its record ascent time). I know that trails are graded more conservatively in the USA, including the use of more switchbacks than the Alps or Pyrenes, but there must be non-technical trail networks in the USA (Colorado included) that can mimic the UTMB ups and downs.

    1. EvanKimber

      There are definitely steep grades to be found particularly in Colorado, lots of Class 3 and 4 stuff if you're really so inclined. TMR has almost 14K of vertical over 38 miles, and one of the pitches you're reduced to nearly crawling up. Hardrock has some really insane grades, downright scary exposure, so I really don't agree to the opinion that American MUT's cannot handle the steep inclines and declines as "the reason for not faring well at UTMB." Heck, Brian Ruisecki, who runs "flat" East Coast races, came in 19th place! I think the Americans (like Bosio and Schlarb) would benefit much greater if they made UTMB their "A" race coming into it and they devoted themselves to the event. This requires course specific training, time, and exposure.

      1. Andy

        Ask Brian, Ben Nephew, Ryan Welts, or any east coaster and they'll tell you our mountains are not flat — in fact, they're super steep, they just lack the amount of vert. A couple thousand foot climb is long, but maybe covers less than two miles. No two thousand meter ascents here, but the grades are serious!

        1. @SageCanaday

          This is true. NE mountains (i.e. Presi traverse) are very hard. The AT is very rough from what I've run on….lots of rocks and steep slopes. It's not about the sheer amount of long climbs and vertical and high altitude though (which we have all of in Colorado)…it's the rolling punches of a bunch of steep and shorter hills/mountains in the mud and techy off-trail stuff. For example, I don't think i can train for a race like Lake Sonoma 50 (little rolling smooth hills) out here in Colorado ideally just because CA trails (and PNW trails for that matter) are so different. It would be better to go out to CA and train for that race…same thing goes with a lot of courses in Europe I think. For sure course specific training and exposure to the exact terrain is best… but then adaptations to such stimuli and stress vary between individuals a great deal as well!

        2. EvanKimber

          Actually I'm in agreement with you here, my reference of "Flat" East coast was purely sarcastic…..the fact that Ruisecki came in 19th just proves it even further.

          1. Ben_Nephew

            I haven't heard any specifics about Brian's run, but I have a feeling that wasn't a great day for him. I think he has the potential for top 10, but relatively, his 19th is a great race. He is a pretty humble guy, and said he was shooting for top 10. In terms of course specificity, I don't think you need to have the exact same terrain to train on, as in 3k ascents and descents are not going to be enough, you need 6k climbs. From the videos I've seen of the race and my own runs in the Alps south of Mont Blanc, the combination of steep and runnable terrain seems to be key. Sage's comment reminds me of my first race at the Headlands 50k, my quads were crushed by very runnable 1500' descents on runnable terrain. The next year, I trained on 300-500 downhills and fared much better over the last 5-6 miles. Ideal training terrain for UTMB in the east and west might be ski areas. The Catskill trails would probably be better than the White Mountains for training, though. The Catskills have plenty of steep jeep access roads up many of the peaks. Some of the races don't tend to use them, though. The elevation gain below is a conservative estimate.

  11. TrailTan

    Killian says UTMB is *not* technical, for the most part. Why does this matter? The Euro's can run down those steep descents without trashing quads, because they are used to them. If USA runners have to descend cautiously, they're out of contention at UTMB. If TMR's trails are also non-technical then I would agree that it would make a good UTMB training ground if not for those trails being snowed in most of the year!

  12. kjz

    Congrats to FOUR U.S. women in the top-15! (if my other comment posted, I was incorrect, but I can't see it)
    Rory at 1, Emily at 9, Leila at 14, and Dana at 15! Yeehaww! Go Girls!

  13. @irunup

    To clarify my opinion. Yes, the trails at UTMB are steerper than Hardrock and the San Juans I've spent weeks in the San juans. Like most Colorado high mountain trails the grades at hardrock are long but very manageable until on occasion they kick up very steep for a short distance to clear a pass. Sure you can find steep terrain in Colorado, but that is usuallly off trail and not regularly run. The grade on Sanitas is roughly just over 10%. Much of the actual climbing at UTMB is closer to 20%. UTMB has long smooth sections of runnable trail. The elevation profile of the course are an illusion, rather than a consistent grade they are flat along a climb then kick up quickly. Eric Lee recommended the best training might be to walk straight up a smooth Black Diamond ski hill. I agree. You really have to go experience it for yourself.

    1. GMack

      Funny you should mention steepness between HR and UTMB. I had the same exchange about 5 years ago with someone and still have the info (hope it formats). I'm a 6x HR finisher and 3x UTMB finisher.

      I tried to show sustained climbs of over 2 miles in each race. For HR, it shows climbs in either direction. I used the stated begin-end altitudes from the race's course info. BTW, for the last 20 miles, both races have about the same amount of climb (where it hurts the most).

      Grouse-American Pass17.5%
      Montets-Tete aux Verts16.7%
      American Basin-Handies14.9%
      Glacier-Col Seigne14.5%
      KT-Grant Swamp12.8%
      Hwy550-Oh Point12.7%
      Notre Dame-Croix Bnh12.4%
      Mineral Cr-Putnam Ridge12.1%
      Le Houche-Le Charme11.4%

    2. EvanKimber

      <The grade on Sanitas is roughly just over 10%. Much of the actual climbing at UTMB is closer to 20%>

      I'm not sure what Sanitas you're talking about, but the one I do every week is a 1.4 mile climb with1,400 vertical feet for an average grade of 18 percent.

      Also, I'm happy to show you my Telluride Mountain Run stats on Garmin Connect. There are 25% grades on that course, some spots even 30%.

  14. pabloruns

    I'm totally with @irunup on the profile being an illusion. It was like surely we have reached the top & then nope, those aren't stars, they're headtorches. Loads of steep climbs & descents, I loved it.

  15. JohnLaCr

    How come no one has mentioned Brian Rusiecki? 19th place and 2nd US male to finish. That deserves some recognition here – congratulation's Brian!

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