Live Coverage of the 2011 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc smThere are multiple ways to get live 2011 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc coverage:

There are 56 comments

  1. Adrian

    The #UTMB2011 is choked with spam as some app is broadcasting everyone's checkpoint info. It has killed whatever usefulness this twitter tag might have had. Are there any better tags to use?

  2. Mike Place

    I really hope that one of the things that comes from this late start is that U.S. races start to seriously consider evening/nighttime starts. That would be so awesome.

  3. Mark

    Euro's come to America and destroy ultra's and competition.

    Americans go to Europe and "get destroyed" by Ultra's and competition?

    What's with all the Drops?

    Hang in there Boys,what's left…

    Any analysis on why some Americans are fairing so badly?? Mutifactoral for sure…Sad…

    1. The Big Leagues

      I was wondering the same thing. What causes the majority of top Americans to fall apart in what for most of them was their biggest race of the summer? And this is not just having something other than their best day, but to DNF and be "destroyed."

      It is a fair question.

    2. Doug

      I think destroy is a little dramatic, BUT your point is well taken. I agree with and echo your question about all the dropping.

      Hang on Nick Clark!!!

      1. Mark

        Hey Doug,

        Lion Heart Nick Clark! Amazing!!

        I should explain myself: My referance to "Destroy" was in regard to a Twitter feed where Roes stated he felt "destroyed" after being asked about the DNF.. Should have made that clear initially.. I'll take the hit…

        Go Nick- a true warrior

  4. Mykl

    Hello, everyone. What an exciting race so far. It's tough to fathom that some of this country's better runners have already dropped out. I wonder how much the weather factored in? What I find amazing is that the runners are "tweeting" their positions during the course of the race.

    @MikePlace: I'm not sure what time UTMB started but night starts would be interesting. There are a few night races here, though.

  5. William

    So it looks like Clark and Wolfe are still hanging in there, not sure of their exact places, but between 6 and 10th? [broken link removed]

    1. questioner

      I don't think that is completely fair, but there may be some truth to it.

      Roes had a couple of great years, but the effect on the body of racing ultras at a high level is quite variable. Perhaps he has hit his plateau and will run very near his previous performances, but not every time outbetter them. Perhaps he is simply having a bad year and will be back next year.

      It seems that his lifestyle of moving frequently between AK and CO could be a bit stressful. Also, how does he earn a living? Is he trying to be a professional runner only? I think those that try to live off only their ultra endeavors are bound to have a more stressful experience and that perhaps means poorer racing.

      Or, are Roes and the rest of the US trail ultra community just realizing that the international scene is a step beyond their level?

      The facts may support this: The top US races this year (TNF 50, WS 100, and HR100) being won by international runners while top US runners fail to be competitive with the best on the international stage in someone else's backyard.

      It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next few years.


    What a load of crap comments from some, especially from spineless anonymous/"questionner" sources.. so much for intellectual discussion on your site, Bryon. Too bad these type of sea-urchins can't use their NAMES to stand up for their off-handed comments.

    Roes reached his plateau? Who you kidding? Can't win every race you run folks, I sure know that..

    Internationals dominating Americans? Sure they have done well over here at races lately, but if you look at longer term mountain running (including ultras and non-ulras) the US has done darn well. Look at the Mens and womens US mountain running team, Jurek setting an American record on French soil, Americans are all over the podium in 100K worlds as of the past few years. The NF 50 in December had their best come over but most Europeans and Asians in that race actually did quite poorly besides 1st place..dig a little deeper into the stats behind just the runner who gets first place.

    To be sure though, UTMB seems to be a race for which the training is hard to replicate here in the US.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Sorry, Dave. There's no moderation on iRunFar comments and I was, uh, busy with something. ;-) Even if I was around, I have a VERY light hand in deleting or editing comments, especially opinion (even if an accusation like doping). I've done so in maybe half a dozen times in four years. Clearly, the TNF UTMB coverage drew a crown outside of the iRunFar regulars.

      Good thoughts on your part though.

      1. Dave M

        Bryon, Great effort over there to you and all runners, US or international! It has been a pleasure for all to watch you hit your stride this summer,especialy given your stated doubts a few months ago.

        Sorry for the caustic comment on my part but I felt like my friends were being dissed unjustifiably anonymously. I wasn't saying you weren't moderating as needed, just relating the very high quality of irunfar to some low-brow commenting.


  7. Stephen Patteson

    I would also like to add that Scott Jurek won the Sparthalon 3 consecutive times, competing with some of the worlds greatest in Greece. At Sparthalon Scott beat valmir Nunes who surpassed his record at badwater the same year. A year later Kyle beat Scott's Hardrock record. And on and on it goes. It is impossible to compare one race with another as everyone has different strengths on different days. As for the UTMB, who knows what Kyle Skaggs is capable of, if at all interested, on a good day. Anyone who attempts to run any given race deserves respect! As Karl say not just gon out and run!!

  8. Mike Place

    On my run this afternoon, I couldn't help but wonder what Anton Krupicka must be thinking today.

    To all the runners at UTMB, a hearty congratulations regardless of performance. Much respect.

  9. Iammykl

    I want to say that the Americans can't dominate every sport. To have elite runners participate in such an event as UTMB is a measure of quality coming from our country. Why did most US runners, male, DNF today? I don't know; but I'm sure each person had it in their mind to compete and do the best they could.

    Earlier, I congratulated all finishers. I seek to amend that comment and now want to echo the sentiment of MP: congratulations to all the runners. Without you, there would be no race.

  10. Ben Nephew

    I like Dave's comments. Obviously there were high expectations of the US runners, but I wonder what these expectations were based on? For those without European experience, you can't just convert success at US races to running well internationally. Looking at the US mountain and 100k teams underscores this point. There are numerous examples of top US mountain and 100k runners that struggle to compete at the World Championship races, sometimes repeatedly. US runners competed well against international athletes at the NF50, but that was one race, which is a bit different from UTMB.

    Many of the top European athletes seem to be better climbers. Although only a few Americans ran Sierre Zinal, I was not expecting many US runners to be close to Kilian at UTMB based on the results from that race. If you assume that the guys running close to Kilian in an ultra have similar climbing abilities, it's hard to imagine many of the US runners staying with that pace. It could be that US ultra runners have that type of climbing ability, but few race shorter mountain races. I don't think that US ultra fans have an appreciation for what a 2:34 at Sierre Zinal means.

    US mountain team members have come from all over the country, so I'm not sure the lack of suitable terrain argument is valid. Having comparable terrain to train on is more important in ultras than in short mountain races, but don't most of the top US ultrarunners live on or near mountains? I know they like switchbacks out west, but some of the trails must be steeper than 8%?

  11. Maurice Politis

    Hi Bryon,

    Above all congrats to all those raced all UTMB events. I find it utterly mute to waffle about US ultra runners vs World. Better hear about how racing UTMB compares to (say) Hardrock. I would be very interested to hear about inclines in uphills/downhills and terrain comparisons. Also, why is so difficult to prepare for UTMB in the States. I thought Colorado Rockies should make a good training ground.

    I have raced CCC and felt cheated from the way the organizers changed the course and created a completely different race. Not much of Alps and glaciers, more like gorges, valleys and villages. I came to Chamonix from Greece with my family and overall I felt I did not get my money's worth. Most French runners were more interested in their watch than chatting with fellow runners (and this from a French speaker).

    I plan to come to US, again with my family and I am very curious how we all going to feel the experience of a comparable event across the Atlantic.

  12. Phil

    Congrats to Bryon and all the team.

    I live in France and though relatively new to Ultras there appears to be a different mentallity here towards running. I have never run in the States and would love to as it seems to me a bit more 'rock and roll' to here.Most French runners are quite 'straightlaced' and reserved and they take it very seriously, not a lot of chat. I am not knocking it maybe its symptomatic of the national psyche, I don't know. Any way my point is this 'Did the Americans train enough on a daily basis on this kind of elevation ?' Most Alpine courses are brutal but then I'm sure so are US desert/mountain races. Maybe we should see what happens when 50 Euro runners do WS100 or Badwater etc etc, maybe its just what you're used too.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Interesting observation, Phil. However, at least the TNF UTMB events seem much more rock and roll/slickly produced than anything I've seen in the States. The only other EU-supported ultras I've been to are the Annecime and the Marathon des Sables, both of which include much more of a production that the stuff stateside. I guess that's just the races though. Are you commenting on the athletes?

  13. Agiofws

    I don't think that its such a question of Americans dominating Europeans and vice versa… We could just take a look at the facts. From my point of view European elite trail runners train more professionally just like track and field athletes do, thats what my impression is when i see Killian and the rest of the Salomon team supporting those athletes… well going over to an American mentality of ultra running things are just simpler… something like "a door to trail running attitude" which is not wrong from my point of view… Maybe the European runners just take it more seriously. American ultra runners do not lack of talent and endurance, but the UTMB is a tough race, its not only the steep ascent, but i think its the weather that plays a major role as well. As for the Americans pulling out take a step back and see how many LOW key USA runners DNF'ed ? just curious… Many elite athletes just think its not worth it JUST to finish so they pull them selfs out of an ultra, you get that quite a lot. For me its the journey and the persistence for the accomplishment not the standings overall.

  14. wyocapt

    Bryon, the iRF coverage of UTMB was a home run! Thanks to you, Meghan, and any other iRF staff for letting the rest of us have a awesome, in- the- moment experience as well. And congrats on your race – an unbelievable journey no doubt. Anxious for your personal race report on your experience, equipment, etc……….in a few weeks….lol. Recover well.

  15. Randy

    As someone that's been on both sides of fence(strong finishes and mid-pack),i can see the perspective of most of the comments.Most of the elite runners can start in the middle or back of pack and finish just about any of the hardest races there are,but that's not there main objective,a fast time or high place is,and when things get ugly,as they usually do in some of these races,it's really tough in there over-loaded state of mind for top runners too adjust to "just"finishing,whilst for the mid-packer,that's all he's been focusing on since the start.I'm sure a few of the top runners,in all races,view dropping as fine if they maybe learned lessons from the race,or avoided injuries or excessive fatigue that would hamper progress,etc.,but for the mid-packer,finishing is the main goal,so it's tough to see why top runners would call it a day with almost as much time left as the mid-packer has to cover the whole course! Both sides worthy of our respect.

  16. Phil

    I think I read that Killian hardly tapered for this race(could be wrong)he seems to run altitude just for fun. Bryon, you know these guys better than most- Do they think Killian is out there on his own? I get the impression that they think he will win evrything he enters. Whose the guy who is going to catch him?

  17. swampy

    Surprising tone on these comments. Thanks for the excellent coverage, I too am excited to hear Byron's report especially in regards to gear in the challenging conditions. Keep up the excellent work!

  18. Jeremy

    Just a quickie to re-itterate the comments of how much I loved the coverage of the race on IRF – thanks very much. As a euro runner I have to admit to quite enjoying the Euro dominance, but having run the shortened race last year i think full understanding should be given to any DNF'ers. This is a really really tough course and with the extremems of weather they had this year it was always going to be pretty brutal.

    looking forward to that race report Bryon!

    PS You've got to imagine that Salomon just love coming to The North Face's race and dominating the men's event, although TNF can hold their head high as well with the ever amazing Lizzie Hawker

  19. Myles Smythe

    Aren't we all (American's) descendents from Europe in one way or another……

    If I didn't follow irunfar I would think the world was flat and would know nothing about the Wide-World-of-Ultrarunning. It is great to be introduced to all of these awesome runners. I respect the humbleness of the winners in these events, Scott Jurek waiting to congratulate all the finishers at WS100 many years past, Roes congratulating Kilian at the WS100 finish this year…just to name a few. This sport has heart and community. Regardless of who and from where the domination is coming from I am just enjoying experiencing all things ULTRA.

    Thanks irunfar for the great race coverage!

      1. Carlos

        Good. Thank you for the information. The "unreal" recoveries of some of the top runners are, well, unreal. The argument that they "train hard all the time" simply underscores the doping thesis because doping allows hard training all the time.

  20. Sarah

    I may be mistaken but I think I've heard Krissy Moehl say in an interview before that a main difference in performance on an international level regarding US runners vs other nationalities is that other countries actually support their runner financially. I guess a lot of the EU elites don't have jobs and can train all day every day. Most of the elite US runners have full time jobs. We all know how hard it can be to balance ultra training and work. Anyway, I'm just saying this may be part of the issue?

    1. emmanuel

      It is several time these days I read european runners are professionals… it is totally wrong ! The best runners are sponsored, which is quite an advantage as they get gears and some race fee paid, but they are not professionals. Kilian is an exception, he can live from sport (but don't forget is also a student…), I don't know much of the other spanish, but as for the frenchies I can tell you most of them work.

  21. Charlie

    Mountain running is a national sport in Italy, France, Switzerland and Spain. I have not seen any stats but I would say there is a much bigger talent pool in Europe than the US simply due to participation levels. Ultra running is growing very quickly in the US but they may take 10 years to catch up to Europe.

      1. deeago

        Ha ha! I would not say it is national in Italy either!

        Yet it is true that 7.30 a.m. on a sunny June Sunday morning on the mountains near Lecco (where skyraces like GIIR di MONT and SENTIERO DELLE GRIGNE take place), you can easily cross guys hopping up and down the cliffs with light shoes, shorts, etc..

  22. Meghan

    The international camaraderie of UTMB is very strong.

    I witnessed countless examples of racers supporting each other regardless of where they came from or how/if they finished. In addition, the real-life spectators of the three countries through which the UTMB passes are just plain passionate about running, cheering wildly for racers no matter their origin.

    A few Internet spectators of the UTMB have resorted to bashing runners based upon their home country here and on a couple other websites. This off-color Internet commentary is so far gone from the actual spirit of the race as well as how the UTMB runners treat each other in real life.

    In the future, I hope that everyone, whether they are here at the race or following it from afar, will remember that the UTMB is and should remain an international celebration of running culture and community.

  23. dogrunner

    First, awesome coverage Bryon et al – I thank you, (although my wife does not ;) – bad enough when I run, but now I sit at a computer and read about other people running!)

    Second, great job Bryon, under what I'm sure were very challenging conditions. TNF has some great videos of the course posted on Youtube. I was getting tired just looking :)

    Third, on the American top runner DNFs – my first reaction was to wonder what was going on, but my second thought was, this is a really tough race, those folks are top-notch worldclass runners, they probably all train differently and I doubt there is any one explanation. Everybody would have some issue or other, and in a really tough race, with small numbers of top-level (potentially winning) runners, maybe it is not unexpected that a bunch did not make it to the end. Who knows. Their stories will be interesting, but I would not make too much of the fact that some of them were American. Other Americans finished very well!

    Fourth – Killian is AMAZING. There is no two-ways about it.

    ok, back to work ;)

  24. Jamie Hunter

    Wow, I'm fairly disgusted with some of the comments on here bashing Geoff, Scott and others. Is the European ultra-scene really that arrogant?

    On another note, a huge thanks to Bryon for all he does for the ultra-running community (both locally and internationally) here on iRunFar!

    Congrats to Killian!

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