When it comes to summer trail racing, there’s no greater spectacle than the UTMB Mont-Blanc festival of races based out of Chamonix, France. The 2023 TDS, an acronym for Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie, departed Courmayeur, Italy, just after midnight on Tuesday, August 29, with some 1,650 runners lighting up the mountainous route back to Chamonix.
With a late summer storm moving in and bringing the snow line down to under 2,000 meters, organizers rerouted parts of the course to accommodate the bad weather that continued on throughout the event. In the 13 years covering the festival, the iRunFar crew hasn’t seen the snow line come so low from a summer storm. The normally 145-kilometer (90 miles) course was extended to 153 kilometers (95 miles) while still holding on to plenty of climbing, and the extra distance combined with the difficult conditions led to extended finish times.
You can also check out more results from the week’s UTMB Mont Blanc festival:
- 2023 OCC Results: McCann and Angermund Run to Victories
- 2023 CCC Results: Albon and Kaspersen Win Over Deep Fields
- 2023 UTMB Results: Dauwalter and Walmsley Lead American Sweep
2023 TDS Men’s Race
Christian Meier (Canada) started the race relatively conservatively over the first set of mountains and the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard before pushing the pace and starting to pick off the men in front of him. He took over the lead near Le Pas D’Outray, 90 kilometers in, and never looked back, slowly extending his lead over the rest of the field for the remainder of the race. A former professional cyclist, Meier has taken to ultrarunning with great success, winning the Trail Andorra 50k earlier this year. He ran to his TDS victory in 19:36:35.
Simen Wästlund of Sweden started out fast, leading the race for the first 90 kilometers, when Meier passed him in the high mountains. He made a valiant effort to stay with the Canadian and ultimately finished just over 20 minutes behind in 19:57:41. The Swedish orienteer and ultrarunner recently placed 22nd at the 2023 Trail World Championships 80k.
Rounding out the top three was Yannick Noël. The Frenchman started conservatively, dropping all the way down to 10th early on in the mountains. From there, he turned on the gas, slowly clawing spots back throughout the rest of the race, finally moving into third around the Col de Very, 112 kilometers in. He finished just a smidge over 20 minutes back from Wästlund in 20:18:02.
2023 TDS Men’s Results
1 – Christian Meier (Canada) – 19:36:35
2 – Simen Wästlund (Sweden) – 19:57:41
3 – Yannick Noël (France) – 20:18:02
4 – Jean-Marie Thévenard (France) – 20:29:53
5 – Cristofer Clemente (Spain) – 20:43:52
6 – Guillaume Beauxis (France) – 21:02:19
7 – Nicolas Gourdon (France) – 21:02:22
8 – André Purschke (Denmark) – 21:16:33
9 – Paul Lenoir (France) – 21:38:41
10 – Jean-Marie Diverrez (France) – 21:44:34
Sage Canaday was the top American finisher in 12th with a time of 22:06:21.
2023 TDS Women’s Race
It was a clean sweep of the women’s podium for France, with Maryline Nakache (France) putting on a masterclass on pacing to win the women’s race with an impressive time of 23:37:57, more than 30 minutes ahead of the next woman. Starting further back early on in the mountains, the Frenchwoman bided her time, slowly but surely moving up in the field. By the end, she’d moved past every single other woman to finish the race in impressive fashion. Nakache is no stranger to success, winning the Marathon des Sables earlier in the year, as well as taking second at the 2023 Lavaredo Ultra Trail.
Fiona Porte (France) also ran a strong and steady race to finish second in 24:08:32. Porte came off an already impressive summer season with wins at the 2023 Lavaredo Ultra Trail, beating fellow Frenchwoman Nakache, and the MaXi-Race du lac d’Annecy 80k.
The final Frenchwoman on the podium was Flavie Bruyneel with a time of 24:26:14. She also executed an exceptional race in terms of pacing, sitting well back in the group during the early kilometers in the race and steadily moving up, passing many as the distance went on.
2023 TDS Women’s Results
1 – Maryline Nakache (France) – 23:37:57
2 – Fiona Porte (France) – 24:08:32
3 – Flavie Bruyneel (France) – 24:26:14
4 – Paulina Krawczak (Poland) – 24:51:17
5 – Magali Mellon (France) – 25:12:47
6 – Emeline Oudet (France) – 25:26:01
7 – Ingrid Lid (The Netherlands) – 26:22:23
8 – Maria Fernanda Monje (Colombia) – 27:20:37
9 – Christine Selman (U.S.) – 28:22:26
10 – Justine Rouveyrol (France) – 28:17:25