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UTMB 2018 Results

France’s Xavier Thévenard took home his third win while Italy’s Francesca Canepa earned her first victory at UTMB 2018. The men’s and women’s fields faced challenging weather conditions paired with hyper-dynamic competition, which together required not only strong physical performances but perhaps even stronger psychological performances of these champions.

In the men’s race, emergent Romanian runner Robert Hajnal had the race of his life to take second, while Spain’s Jordi Gamito racked up perhaps his biggest performance among a number of big performances over the years to take third. For the women, it was Spain’s Uxue Fraile who returned from major injury to her previous form to take second, and France’s Jocelyne Pauly, who battled long and late in a close women’s podium race for third, her top ultra-trail race result by far.

In a race that was informed in great part by a decimation of the frontrunner field–especially on the men’s side–it was hard to track exactly how many lead shifts happened over the course of the day or so of Alpine trail racing. In our results articles, we typically talk about those who had their best days at the front of the race. With so very many drops among the men’s favorites, a conversation about those who didn’t make it seems warranted, too. First things first, we’ll start at the top of the women’s and men’s fields and, then, work our way down.

A special thanks to Camelbak for making our coverage of UTMB possible!

Thanks also to Jaybird and Altra for their support of our UTMB coverage.

As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to race-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports. Check back.

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The fog rises above La Fouly, Switzerland at dawn. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2018 UTMB Women’s Race

Let’s begin with two important and race-informing facts:

  • Last year, there was a spread of three hours and 55 minutes between the first and 10th women. This year, that time difference was about 90 minutes.
  • The men’s top-10 time spread was two hours and 45 minutes, and, again, the women’s just 90 minutes.

What a year for the upper-echelon women at UTMB!

Italy’s Francesca Canepa (post-race interview), she’s probably a name that newer fans of international trail ultrarunning don’t recognize. In looking through her decade or so of trail and ultrarunning race results, you might think that on paper she’d reached her ultrarunning peak in the 2012 to 2014 range. For instance, in 2012, she went back-to-back to take second at (one of the weather-shortened versions of) UTMB and, then, win Tor des Géants a couple weeks later. But here we all are in 2018 with a UTMB champ in Francesca.

What we also have in Francesca is a woman who didn’t slow down while surrounded by a field of women who did, and her speed and pace results on the race tracker phenomenally demonstrate this. Her lowest ranking in the overall field was 157th place at Saint-Gervais (21km), and her best was at the finish when she was 33rd overall. Francesca moved inside the women’s top 10 between the descent from Col de la Seigne into Italy (at around 65km) and her hometown of Courmayeur (80km). The rest was history as woman by woman, she passed them all, until she arrived to the 135km checkpoint as the women’s leader. Her gap to the other women was never big–less than five minutes at the finish–but it was plenty for her arrival as the 2018 champ.

Francesca Canepa at La Fouly in Switzerland at dawn on Saturday, on her way to winning UTMB 2018. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

I’m not going to lie, Spain’s Uxue Fraile (pre- and post-race interviews) is always a force to be reckoned with. But she’d been injured for a long time, so going into this year’s UTMB, I was unsure if she’d be back to her previous form. When I caught a glimpse of her in Chamonix a couple days before the race, I was sure she’d compete for the podium. Holy smokes, was she fit!

Early race, Uxue was smack dab in the middle of the women’s top 10, in fifth at 21km. From there until about 124km, Uxue’s position in the women’s top five shifted around. At Les Chapieux (50km), she was second, while at Grand Col Ferret (90km), she was fourth. This was the result of women coming and going from in front of her, time and again. She would say after the race that the fluidity with which women moved in front of and, then, behind her was actually sort of confusing, in terms of the sheer number of times it happened and who those runners were. By 140km, she settled into second place, where she would stay. Ultimately, she caused a little excitement as she cut over half her deficit to the lead in a couple kilometers over the race’s final 10km, on the steep descent to Chamonix from La Flégère. But when the route flattened out again with a couple kilometers to go, her pace evened out relative to that of Francesca in front of her, and the pair finished about 4.5 minutes apart.

Uxue Fraile elated with second place at UTMB 2018. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Third-place Jocelyne Pauly (post-race interview) of France was this year’s women’s breakout runner. She’s been a strong ultrarunner for a number of years, but this was far and away her strongest result–by a country (or Alpine?!) mile. A mom and an educator living in the French Pyrenees, Jocelyne was unaffected by the difficult weather conditions which persisted for most of the first 12 hours of the race, including rain, frozen precipitation, and cold temperatures. As early as 21km into the race, Jocelyne was well inside the top 10. She said after the race that this positioning surprised her, but that she went with it since it felt good. She was still outside podium position at the start of the final climb, and once she moved her way into third place, she said that her competitive instinct made her want to fight for that spot.

The women’s podium of UTMB 2018 (l-to-r): 2. Uxue Fraile, 1. Francesca Canepa, 3. Jocelyne Pauly. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Fourth place was the U.K.’s Beth Pascall, who put on what looks like a textbook performance, running outside the women’s top 10 to start, easing into it mid-race, before coming on strong in the final 25km to move up from seventh to fourth place.

Rounding out the women’s top five was Italy’s Katia Fori, who was one of those people whose position in the race moved around, from higher, to lower, to higher, and to lower again. At one point she was actually leading the race before she ultimately finished fifth.

Katia Fori running toward fifth place. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

In sixth was France’s Juliette Blanchet, who avenged last year’s DNF with a strong 2018 finish. Seventh place was the always-impressive Ildikó Wermescher (post-race interview) of Hungary. The USA’s Cat Bradley took eighth. Bulgaria’s Mariya Nikolova (pre-race interview) took ninth for the second year in a row. The USA’s Kaci Lickteig, who sat outside the women’s top 10 until the final kilometers, sprinted it in for 10th place.

Drops were an influential part of the storyline of both the women’s and men’s races, though as we shall see below, the DNF influence was really heavy among the men. iRunFar had 34 women in its preview who actually ended up starting the race, and I believe that 12 of them didn’t finish, a 35% drop rate. There were 782 DNFs among 2,561 total starters, a 31% overall drop rate. So the frontrunner women’s DNF rate was a little higher than the average drop rate for the whole field. Interestingly, seven of those 12 women were from the USA.

Mimmi Kotka was one of the women’s favorites, but she dropped in Les Contamines, early in the race. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

2018 UTMB Women’s Results

  1. Francesca Canepa (UGlow) –26:03:48 (post-race interview)
  2. Uxue Fraile (Vibram) –26:08:07 (pre- and post-race interviews)
  3. Jocelyne Pauly (Kiwami)– 26:15:11 (post-race interview)
  4. Beth Pascall (Raidlight) – 26:26:40
  5. Katia Fori (Columbia) – 26:40:43
  6. Juliette Blanchet (Vibram) – 26:48:44
  7. Ildikó Wermescher (Hoka One One) – 27:19:36 (post-race interview)
  8. Cat Bradley (Salomon) –27:22:11
  9. Mariya Nikolova – 27:23:20 (pre-race interview)
  10. Kaci Lickteig (Altra) – 27:31:39
  11. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) – 27:35:11
  12. Sophie Grant – 27:51:07
  13. Emilie Lecomte – 28:10:03 (pre-race interview)
  14. Nathalie Henriques – 28:38:57
  15. Teresa Nimes (Compressport) – 28:50:12
  16. Kaori Niwa (Salomon) – 28:52:10
  17. Irene Kinnegim (Raidlight) – 29:16:34
  18. Manu Vilaseca (BUFF) – 29:28:05
  19. Jo Meek (SCOTT) – 30:16:38
  20. Fu-Zhao Xiang (Toread) – 31:29:47

Full results.

2018 UTMB Men’s Race

To be honest, I think a number of us wondered about Xavier Thévenard’s (pre- and post- race interviews) ability to recover from both those 91 miles of the Hardrock 100 that he did run as well as the psychological outwash of the nine miles he didn’t with his disqualification a scant six weeks ago. But if there was any lingering fatigue, you couldn’t see it. He was solid all day long, not only efficient in his trail time, but also efficient in his aid-station transitions. And he also kept his cool as lead change after lead change happened around him until there was just him left. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Xavier enjoys what he does when he’s out there–he’s a quiet guy who keeps his thoughts to himself and the emotions off his face. But he let his feelings out at the finish with a sweet celebration.

At the outset and for something like half the race, Xavier sat in the middle of the top 10. Then, from about midway up until the 50-kilometers-to-go mark, he moved up until he eventually was the solo race leader starting at Champex-Lac (124km). His lead was modest at first, but he really opened it up in the final race segments, ultimately winning by some 45 minutes.

Xavier Thévenard, UTMB 2018 champion. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Second-place Robert Hajnal (post-race interview), of Romania… wait, stop the ‘press.’ Who’s that? I know, I know, iRunFar has a small yet passionate collection of Romanian readers who did know of this guy before this weekend, but the rest of us, let’s get to know Robert. I took notice of him when he finished 15th at the 2018 Trail World Championships, but his accolades go farther back than that. Last year, he earned a pair of fifth places at the Lavaredo Ultra Trail and Ultra-Trail Cape Town.

The first time Robert caught my attention at this race was in the dark, cold, wind, and below-freezing temperatures on the descent from Col de la Seigne on the border of France and Italy, at about 65km. He was bundled up enough that it was hard to figure out who he was while he ran just outside of the men’s top 10. The next time we saw him in the bustling Courmayeur aid station (80km), he’d passed a bunch of people and moved solidly into the lead group. That’s where he stayed all day, moving up sequentially until, after 124km, he found his ultimate finishing position. Our eyes are squarely on you now, Robert. What’s your next move?

Robert Hajnal after taking second at UTMB 2018. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Spain’s Jordi Gamito (post-race interview) has a lot of feathers of success adorning his trail-ultrarunning hat from the last half-decade-plus of high-level ultrarunning. I believe he had two previous finishes of 12th and 10th places at UTMB to his name, as well as podium finishes at other important races. At the finish line, Jordi said that earning a UTMB podium position was like a dream to him, something he’d thought a lot about, but thought he might never achieve. Well, Jordi, dreams do come true! Like Xavier and Robert in front of him, Jordi started out a little conservatively, and got closer to the front of the race as time went on. He found his third-place position with about 60km to go, and he never was closely challenged for it, nor did he challenge for a higher ranking. This year, the podium is his.

Jordi Gamito celebrates his third place with the crowd gathered at the UTMB 2018 finish line. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Here we go, Norway’s Hallvard Schjølberg, who are you? He’s the dude who took 28th place at UTMB last year and fourth place this year. Talk about some improvement! Hallvard was a quintessential honey badger, never really caring about or being bothered by difficult conditions, soldiering on in it all.

Rounding out the men’s top five was the U.K.’s Damian Hall (post-race interview). Check out his UTMB progression: 29th in 2015, 19th in 2016, 12th last year, and, now, this. With such significant leaps forward, the only question is what his UTMB ceiling might be.

Damian Hall on his way to fifth place. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Sixth place was Latvian Roman Evarts, who turned up in the men’s top 10 at 124km, after running over half the race in 20th-30th place overall. Seventh was Italy’s Stefano Ruzza, who employed the same move-up strategy, though not entering the top 10 until even later. Erik Clavery, of France, surprised me. I tend to think of him as a relatively aggressive runner who sometimes sticks it and sometimes doesn’t. I was, thus, surprised to see him taking it easier early and running around 20th place before watching him turn up in the top 10 later in the race. Austria’s Florian Grasel finished ninth, and Spain’s Javi Dominguez took 10th.

To put it mildly, there were some DNFs in the men’s field. At quick count, it looks like there were 25 drops from the 39 men in our preview who ultimately started the race, or a 64% drop rate among iRunFar’s men’s favorites. This statistic sits in stark contrast to the race’s overall drop rate of 31%. Some of those drops were the result of weird stuff, like a pre-race bee sting that manifested in mid-race health issues for three-time champion Kilian Jornet, as well as during-race slips, trips, and ankle rolls that created race-ending injuries for Tim Tollefson (pre-race interview) who’s taken third at UTMB twice, previous second-place-finisher Luis Alberto Hernando (pre-race interview), and Alex Nichols who was debuting at UTMB but who has a plenty-strong racing resume. This is a significant number, sure, but there’s still much more to the story, and that has to be the general wear and tear of running 100 miles in difficult weather conditions catching up with a lot of men, including two-time top-10er Zach Miller (pre-race interview) who I also think hurt his ankle after going into the energetic hurt bucket, Jim Walmsley (pre-race interview) who was fifth last year, three-time top-10er Gediminus Grinius, Scotty Hawker who was last year’s 11th-place finisher, and more.

Jim Walmsley running at 21k into UTMB 2018 before his DNF. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

2018 UTMB Men’s Results

  1. Xavier Thévenard (asics) – 20:44:16 (pre- and post- race interviews)
  2. Robert Hajnal (CEP) – 21:31:37 (post-race interview)
  3. Jordi Gamito (Compressport) – 21:57:01 (post-race interview)
  4. Hallvard Schjølberg (inov-8) – 22:06:59
  5. Damian Hall (inov-8) – 22:35:13 (post-race interview)
  6. Roman Evarts – 22:38:29
  7. Stefano Ruzza (Vibram) – 23:02:19
  8. Erik Clavery – 23:07:53
  9. Florian Grasel (BOA) – 23:12:03
  10. Javi Dominguez (Vibram) – 23:27:08
  11. Petter Restorp – 23:34:35
  12. Christopher Hammes – 23:47:39
  13. Mathieu Blanchard (Salomon) – 23:53:02
  14. Sacha Devillaz – 23:59:55
  15. Jim Mann – 24:07:27
  16. Emir Grairi – 24:16:21
  17. Gregoire Curmer (Compressport) – 24:26:59
  18. Matthieu Bosquet – 24:27:00
  19. Roberto Mastrotto (La Sportiva) – 24:28:23
  20. Bertrand Collomb-Patton – 24:33:26

Full results.

2018 UTMB Articles, Race Reports, and More

Coverage Thanks

It takes a village! Thank you so much to our office and field teams for forgoing sleep, putting in hundreds of miles of driving and hiking to report from remote locations, standing on frozen mountainsides for hours on end, and staring at computers all night and day. We are so grateful to Kirsten Kortebein, Marissa Harris, Mauri Pagliacci, Casey Szesze, Tim Peeters, Kate Cooke, Eóin Lennon, Gaël Revelin, Fabrice Van De Cauter, Tom Van De Cauter, Antonio Gassi, Rebecca Gassi, Cass Chisholm, Fabrizio Lavuri, Martina Demateo, Amy Leedham, and Braden Engel!

Meghan Hicks: is iRunFar.com's Managing Editor 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.

View Comments (129)

  • What a disappointing race for the US men. I thought for sure we would have a win, or at least 1 top 3 man, if not all 3! Very unfortunate Tim, Jim, Alex and Andrew all DNF’d. Also western states dark horse Mark Hammond. Random Oddities mixed with tough conditions. Or maybe just lack of mental toughness...

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    • as an American male who roots for American males (and females) very hard... I have to say I am not so ready to spurn this group of dudes. they are all champions, some of whom were dealt a bad hand, others who made mistakes, but none of whom deserve anything but the utmost respect.

      it made me happy to see XT get the redemption he wanted after what went down at HR. I look forward to seeing the American men get redemption on 2018 UTMB.

      and of course hats off to Cat B and Kaci L.... and especially hats off to Francesca Canepa. would love to hear her backstory as I assume it's interesting

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      • Totally agree, after the huge success for US runners at Lavaredo (top of the podium for male and female on quite all the races) I thought that this was the good year, but a 100 miles (and UTMB in particular) are exponentially tougher and more inpredictable than a 100 or 120 K...

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  • Thank you for a great coverage! You are the essence of ultra running!Halvard in 4 th place is a veteran by the way 41 or 42 years old. Many great stories in this race. The woman's race was so close and exciting! Felt good about Xavier getting the win and being salouted by his home crowd. Great race.

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  • 15 years US "superstars" tray to win utmb, from Jurek to Walmsley... real 100 miles with 10000+ is unknown territory for US trailers...

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    • UTMB is not that hard of a course....FWIW

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      • Karl could you expand on this thought? I did both Speedgoat and UTMB this year and thought that UTMB is comparable to at least the Speedgoat 50k x 3 if you extrapolate out your race over the 106 mile distance. As we both know Speedgoat 50k is no joke! The UTMB steep descents really wear you down. Just looking for deeper insights, not an attack in any way.

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        • all good. :-) I'm not saying it's "easy" but the trails are buffed. Sure, mud can be an issue sometimes too, but I think what makes the race tough is the competition....all the hype, so stress and simply a fast pace wears the fastest runners down. Having done Hardrock 13X and the AT a few times, my perception is certainly skewed a bit, but I've run the course and I thought it was like disneyland of singletrack. Not "tough" mountain running. There are, of course, some ugly climbs...

          The altitude does not really play a factor as far as I'm concerned, so it's a "hilly mountain run" at almost sea level in my book.
          For the record, it is the greatest race of all. It's a perfect mix of fast trail and tough trail.

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          • What make UMTB tough for most American's is that you can't have a pacer.
            Since a lot of US runners rely on pacers, they are not mentally prepared to go through rough times on their own.

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          • Not just the lack of pacer.... the mandatory gear, the limited crew, UTMB being a "night race"...etc.
            But those are only hypothesis.
            Krissy Moehl and Rory Bosio have shown that an American can win UTMB.

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          • Yes indeed. The US women are a lot more successful than the men at UMTB.

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    • Ummm... Krissy Moehl (2x), Rory Bosio (2x), Nikki Kimball (1x)

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      • Talking about males.

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  • Would love to hear some more detail about what happened to the bewilderingly large number of DNF's, particularly among the elite men. I know much of this may have already been reported on the IRF Twitter feed, but I would love to know what happened to Jim, Zach, Tim, Mark etc.

    I find it hard to believe that the weather would have been a factor for anyone with Alpine racing experience. Overall, I thought conditions were unusually benign. It was mostly cool and damp, but the rain was light. I only wore my waterproof jacket briefly. Otherwise it was the usual routine of putting on hat, gloves, long-sleeve top, as you ascended to the high passes, and removing them when you descended to the milder valleys. There wasn't enough rain to make the trails muddy and slippery, and no ice, snow etc. Last year's weather was far worse.

    Anyway, thanks for the great race coverage. Must be an exhausting week for you guys!

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  • Fantastic coverage, as always. So happy to be a patron! As an aside, did anyone observing live or watching the live video notice XT's conspicuous consumption of water in the finishing chute? It wasn't even hot! Subtle, but maybe not so. "So there, Hardrock!" Haha. Sweet redemption for sure.

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    • I think that was champagne ;)

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      • Funny, the way he was pouring it on his head it did kinda look that way ... but from a soft flask in his vest?!

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        • did you see his interview? "just a little bit of water" - love it

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  • I'm a big fan of Walmsley, dude has absolutely beautiful form. But it just seems like he's refusing to grow up a bit and save his front running races for the days he feels excellent.

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    • Refusing to grow up or just prefers to race out front. He trains and races to be a front runner because thats how he is. Although I'll agree that he should of stayed back since his crew mentioned his legs werent feeling great at the start. But I still think he wouldnt of had a good race either way if that was the case.

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  • Euros are generally less competitive at runable American ultras, unless they choose to focus on that. Americans are generally less competitive in slow steep Euro races, unless they choose to focus on that. Nothing new. People are better at that in which they have more experience.

    As for Walmsley, it's good that he's failing so much. He's very talented, for an ultrarunner, but his ego was just too much - - made an @$$ of himself in interviews, raced like a fool. If he's to realize his potential, he needs to take his rivals seriously and stop thinking he's so much better than everyone else. He could use a coach, too. Or at least get advice from some older runner that knows how to perform every time. No Koop, though.

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    • I'll agree with you on the first part, exactly right.
      I'm confused. Hasn't he proved himself yet from winning, placing well, and setting course records at multiple events? Just because someone struggles with a certain distances/terrain then how is that failing?
      Just a question too, why is being confident in this sport so bad? I see all of this "being humble" and yet when someone shows confidence they are usually looked down upon.

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    • The comment by s.c. is actually my own, which I wrote in letsrun.com under the handle Mizuno fanboy. Are you guys aggregating comments from other sources using bots or something?

      Anyway, replying to Mary, there's a difference between confidence and some of the claims Jim made in the build up to Western States last year. I, and many others, have a problem with that kind of boasting. Otherwise, he's a fenomenal runner and I hope he achieves most of his goals.

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      • Nope. We don't pull comments from outside sources...

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        • Yes, it seemed odd. I guess whoever did it wanted to say more or less the same, so he just copied and pasted my comment.

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    • I doesn't agree with you about Walsmley and race strategy: Last year the conditions were even worst, and d'Haene won racing all the time in front of the pack. When you race like Thévenard, only caring of your splits, you take also a risk: the people in front doesn't blow up (and if Kilian is in front, normally he doesn't blow up), you can't win. Even Tim Tollefson tried this year to race less conservative: I think he learned that you have to take a risk to win UTMB... In fact, the good strategy doesn't exist, and even if you are super fit and prepared like I think Jim was, you can have fatigue, sleep deprivation, gastric issues, falls, etc. it's the beauty of the Ultras, it's the beauty of UTMB.

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    • Interesting comment s.c. Quick question: what type of coach do you think would benefit Jim? I happen to agree with your general sentiment in this case but as the market is flooded with many different types of coaches I wonder what type would best fit Jim's style? A top-down dictatorial type, a collaborative problem solver, a grizzled old Jedi Master? Some combination thereof? From my perspective it's an interesting conversation.

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  • Would be interesting to hear the thoughts from the community about the higher than normal American elite DNF rate. Bad luck? Bad race strategy? Not tough enough? Either way, the Americans always put on a hell of show - hopefully it works out for them the men one day and for the women again!

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    • Think bad strategy and bad luck. Tim, Alex, and Zach all obtain injuries during the race which prevented them from showing their final results. Zach might have gone out too hard but he had good odds when hearing about his training. Jim, as I have heard, had beat up legs at the start which could of ended him no matter what. Note: he didnt go out much faster than last year.

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      • Zach runs the way he runs and that's why we love him. But that crazy uphill sprint on already beaten up legs? What's the point apart from having to spend 20 minutes at the following aid? Running fast and in front is a strategy, crazy sprints are reckless and on a 170km race in the mountains

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        • You never know what happens when you overtake again.. maybe Xavier would have broken down or backed down.. Or even Zach would have felt better himself after taking back the lead. It's so much mental games going on

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          • I've seen some interview where Xavier says he was puzzled to see Zach pushing so hard with so much race left, that it didn't make sense to him. Wish I had the link, though.

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          • The interview where Xavier mentions the crazy acceleration of Zach is here : https://youtu.be/J1vfEqcvZi0?t=230
            Same here, I agree with Xavier, it's not logical to accelerate like this in a 100 mile race like UTMB. What did Zach think ?

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          • Xavier back down?......you might want to rethink that. He is now a 3 time winner of UTMB and I think has every one of the other races as well. Would of won Hardrock if not for the DQ. He is a quiet assassin. The americans can learn a little bit from him imho.

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    • Put on a show? If you mean inflating their capabilities, the bowing out as usual, they sure do put on a show. Face it American men can only win races the Euros dont care about. Once again hype over quality.

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      • "American men can only win races the Euros dont care about." As I know Europe has some amazing athletes, this comment is totally incorrect. American men have won many Europe races before. Look at CCC for example last year and previous years. Lot's of other examples if you do your research. In the end it's a friendly competition.

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  • Interesting dynamic for sure this year. As it may have been alluded to, it looks like the typical mountain weather conditions may sorted out who are really the mountain runners used to long days outside in the cold, rain, muddy, slippery, night etc... it's likely that the result would have been drastically different with the initial cool and perfect weather that was forecast several days before. Turned out mother nature wanted mountain conditions in the mountains.

    While not an elite, I'm a bit confused at the strategy of going balls out in this environment, the weather was making the terrain no doubt more challenging so keeping the effort measured would probably have been a decent idea especially heading into the night, yet some of them (men and women) went for the 30M stage win in a 100M race.

    Alex Nichols, Luis Hernando, Kilian Jornet and Tim Tollefson having some pretty bad luck.

    On the positive notes:
    - iRunfar coverage
    - UTMB Live was pretty amazing at times, thank you Sebastien Chaigneau for doing some interval training to capture some great footage.
    - Thank you Hillary Girardi for the interviews on UTMB Live.
    - Kilian Jornet skimo technique on a uphill road and so relaxed run overall.
    - Xavier Thevenard - all business. Job done.
    - Cat Bradley, also got the job done, no fanfare. Kudos to her.
    - Timothy Olson. Gutting it out.
    - CCC: Tom Evans - Amazing progression in 2 years, didn't feel well at the beginning and unleashed at the end to take the win
    - CCC: Min Qui and Miao Yao. The North Face, please bring them to TNF California 50M to dynamite the field
    - CCC: Katie Schide. Like Hillary Girardi she might be a US runner under the radar because living outside the US but she had great results in the last 2 years. Please interview her.
    - TDS: Dylan Bowman, all class, humble and got the job done
    - TDS: Top 3 men ripping it out and sprinting to the finish
    - UTMB: Caroline Chaverot. Only 3 weeks of training with 40mi/week on average after a long sickness and she's hanging there. Wow.

    Negatives:
    - The loud arrogant sadly stereotypical attitude prevalent among some of the US elites runners (men and women alike)
    - Rory Bosio on UTMB Live. See previous point. Trying to avoid to say more here.
    - Coconino cowboys. "Show up and blow up". Bonus point for trying but maybe tame the message.
    - Zach Miller - The writing was on the wall, he was working so hard to move. Kilian and then Xavier likely added extra pressure keeping up that made him go over the edge. Kudos for giving it all however but if anything like that is going to work, that is going to be by accident.
    - Thibault Baronian (CCC) and Alex Nichols (UTMB) tramped over at the start. Maybe time for UTMB to do a staggered start. What a sad outcome for Alex Nichols.
    - livetrail.net is still not able to run a site without everything falling over
    - The UTMB announcers are still incredibly annoying

    Note to self: Looking forward to see the El Kott twins race UTMB in the future if they decide to go. I think this is a race tailored for them.

    Thank you again iRunfar for the great work

    Those are armchair comments and purely my own opinion of course.

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    • ^^^ This

      Gerardi and Schide have been tearing it up the entire season over here. So while they've been under the radar in US coverage, they've been a force to be reckoned with in Europe and great cheering on. And yes, expat fanboy.

      Schide
      #1: Madeira, Salomon Maxi-Race, Trail des Balcons, 2 Alps Outdoor Festival, Pierra Menta Ete w/ Gerardi (2h45 gap on #2)

      Gerardi
      #1: Tromso, Kima, Mt Blanc Vertical KM, Pierra Menta Ete w/ Schide
      #2: Dolomites Skyrace, Yading Skyrunning Vertical KM

      Schide and Nilsson both debuted at the 100km with CCC so it will be interesting to see if they jump into longer distances in the future. It was exciting watching them chase down Yao who I'm going to keep my eyes out for now.

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    • I was most impressed with Hillary on the live UTMB tv. I didn't know it was her until well after the event. Would be cool to see an interview with her (and Katie Schide). Also, thank you irunfar and team for the great coverage!

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  • Any word on why Jim dropped? Is he alive?

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    • I thought I heard his crew say during an interview Jim's legs felt heavy and worn out at the start of the race. If thats the case im assuming he mightve not recover from his intense training block. So being a 100 mile mountain race and legs already feel trashed, thats rough.

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      • I an earlier interview he mentioned, that due to a quad injury he did less for WS100 and that worked a charm. I am not sure why that approach would not have been feasible for UTMB? I dont think there are many people that can put in monster mileage and recover on time. There might only be one come to think of it...

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  • Seems to me a year in large part of just bad luck for some: Tollefson, Hernando,Kilian, Nichols... , and for others maybe pacing strategy. I would love to see Zach stay between 5th and 12th position up until about milw 65 or 70 then slowly start pushing as his trademark style is. I think that is his route to 1st place as long as Kilian isn't in the mix. But you can't say he isn't tough enough, he gives everything and then some, unfortunately it isn't a lack of Will but of the body failing him.
    Tollefson, I thought he was going to be first American until I saw pics of him in the aid station close to tears, it's really too bad but of any American, I think he's doing whatever needs to be done in the most right ways.
    Kacie is a beast of a performer considering there's no mountains near her to train on! Wow. Amazing runner.
    Cat BeRad quietly gets the job done and shows she's a journeywoman on the rise ready to grind it out if that's what it takes.

    Those who raced to finish rather than podium ultimately stood on the podium and those who raced for a podium spot, saw the finish line from a fan's position.

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  • My expectations of Xavier were different than Meghan's. I thought he should have been billed as a co-favorite before the race. He was clearly on great form at Hardrock, much better than his first Hardrock (where I was expecting more), and had won this twice. His prerace interview with iRunFar also reconfirmed my belief the rules were totally lost in translation at Hardrock - there was no deliberate cheating.

    I liked Bosio commenting on the live feed.

    Walmsley just didn't have it from the start, I've heard through the grapevine. He probably misjudged his training and came I overtrained. He wasn't really pushing the pace at any point where it would make sense to say that he blew himself up. The easy front running at the start was just his great running efficiency, and Zach and Kilian were with him soon enough.

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    • I agree, Xavier was one of my top four people to be on the podium. He is a strong mountain runner!
      And Jim, I agree he mightve been overtrained and not fully recovered. It was obvious something was wrong when he began to go from 1st - 3rd - 5th - 10th - 15th and so on within the first 50 km or a little further in of the race. Sometimes the legs aren't there, especially after a large training block that he did! Hopefully he can rest up and give it a good run at North Face 50.

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  • Awesome coverage, enjoyed following along! Well deserved win for Xavier and the other podium finishers!

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  • A pro - JW, who overtrains before the most significant race in calendar? WHAT?

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  • Thanks for the great summary. I was in the foray so not able to follow as it was unfolding. Fascinating developments and a reminder of the way in which 100 miles in the mountains throws up all sorts of variables. Patience and humility are certainly the kind of virtues needed to succeed here.

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  • Great interviews and coverage iRunfar! Nice seeing you Megan having lunch as I ran into the finish chute too. Proud to be part of the Patreon crew since the beginning!

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    • Soon-Chul,

      Congrats on your finish and thanks so much for your support on Patreon. I'm afraid you must have seen my look alike whilst finishing the race, as I believe I was staring at my computer screen in my apartment when you finished. Thanks again and a massive congrats! :-)

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  • In all fairness I had been hallucinating for awhile out there. All the rocks had faces! Thanks Megan :-)

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  • In all fairness I had been hallucinating for awhile out there. Even the rocks had faces! Thanks Megan :-)

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  • Maybe some of these guys should listen to some podcasts with speedgoat. And I thought after the krupicka story its common knowledge where all that massive volume leads to.

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  • Isn't it remarkable how three of the top seeded athletes got airlifted by helicopters..? Some even bragged about it later..Helicopter rescue in the Alps is used in extrem cases and not as a taxi service for pro runners who underestimate the terrain and overestimate their own abilities. Just a reflection...

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    • Actually, helicopter rescue is for everyone. Regardless of whether it's an extreme case or a runner, hiker, climber overestimating themselves and not being prepared. There's a reason why most of the races require an insurance which covers mountain rescue.
      We only know about the top runners, because they are in the spotlight. I'm sure that many other UTMB participants had to be airlifted from inaccessible places.
      If I decide to hike to a remote mountain pass and cannot make my way back because of my own stupidity, they'll rescue me just as quickly as they would a stranded pro mountaneer. It's then up to the insurance company to decide whether they cover the costs or not. :-) And believe me, this helicopter "taxi service" is ridiculously expensive.

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    • Zach said he didn't have a choice in the matter. he didn't want to, but they insisted he be lifted.

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