Hello! My name is Andy Jones-Wilkins and I have UTMB envy and, sadly, I am not too proud to admit it. Each year at this time my heart aches for Chamonix and the incredible spectacle of the Ultra-Tour de Mont-Blanc. And this year, for some reason, the longing seems especially acute.
A few years back I was able to quell my anxiety and talk myself out of this envy when the race was altered due to bad weather and various issues conspired to make it seem like it was not such a great thing. But, alas, those were only cheap attempts at avoiding the reality of the situation, I really, really want to run this race and I am immensely jealous of those lucky souls who get to.
The rise of social media, of course, hasn’t helped the cause as each year the stories and images coming out of France every August are nothing short of incredible. There just seems to be something truly magical about this event and, quite frankly, I feel more and more left out. I am like that one kid in the class who didn’t get invited to the best party of the year.
Of course, it’s not like I don’t enjoy my fair share of ultrarunning debauchery. After all, every year I attend Western States and Hardrock and get to savor the gluttony that accompanies these events. And, over the years, I have found myself in the midst of some of the greatest ultra experiences a guy can have. So, what the heck am I complaining about?
And then, of course, the obvious question: If you want to run UTMB so much, why not just go there?
Well, I guess it’s just an example of wanting what you can’t have. You see, given my line of work, late August is just an impossible time for me to travel to Europe. As a career school person, this time of year is filled with meetings, planning, events, and beginnings. In truth, until I retire (or somehow figure out a way to finagle a sabbatical) going to UTMB just can’t happen. As such, I am left to wallow here on the home front while the rest of the ultra world revels in one of ultrarunning’s greatest spectacles.
So, to all of you over there in France this week, run a few miles for me and savor the opportunity to enjoy one of the world’s most amazing places. If you’re running the race, endeavor to leave it all out there. If you’re there as a crew or a spectator, enjoy the ride. And know, that back here stateside, one of ultrarunning’s biggest fans, is sitting on his phone enviously wishing he was there.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
One of the most successful American men at UTMB over the years has been Montana’s Mike Foote. As such, it is only fitting that this week’s Beer of the Week comes from Footy’s home state. Kettle House Brewing Company in Missoula, Montant makes an outstanding Scotch Ale called Cold Smoke. While more fitting for a cold winter’s day, Cold Smoke is a great accompaniment to any runner’s post run arsenal of recovery beverages.
Call for Comments (from Bryon)
- Do you dream of running UTMB?
- What speaks to you most about UTMB?