Monday, August 31, 2009

Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc

The Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc (UTMB), one of the world's most spectacular and most popular trail races concluded over this past weekend. Almost 2,400 runners toed the line in Chamonix, France for this 100 mile circumnavigation around the highest mountain in Western Europe, Mt. Blanc. The trail race circles the Mont Blanc massif, cutting through Les Houches, St Gervais, Les Contamines, Courmayeur, Champex, Trient, Vallorcine and La Flegere before returning to Chamonix. It is a spectacular course through the Alps showcasing jagged mountain ridges, deep valleys, alpine scenery and quaint mountain villages. It's also one of the most difficult trail races in the world featuring almost 31,000 feet of elevation gain. While it doesn't have the altitude that the Hardrock 100 in Silverton, CO has, it boasts nearly as much elevation gain as Hardrock (33,000 feet). It would be difficult to say there is a trail running race anywhere in the world as challenging as Hardrock, but UTMB comes pretty close (the Barkley races notwithstanding).

With nearly 2,400 competitors, you're pretty likely to have a good race on your hands. UTMB usually doesn't disappoint. American favorite Scott Jurek challenged for the lead early but couldn't hold the pace and dropped back to finish a still solid 19th overall. Spanish runner Kilian Jornet, regarded as the best trail runner in Europe, won the race in a spectacular time of 21 hours, 33 minutes, 19 seconds. French runner Sebastian Chaigneau finished second while Japanese runner Tsuyoshi Kakuraki rounded out the podium in third.

The real story for the Americans was runner Krissy Moehl who would go on to win the women's race in course record time and place 11th overall. It was the highest finish for a woman in course history. Moehl held off last year's UTMB champion Lizzy Hawker of Great Britain and third place finisher Monica Aguilera Viladomiu from Spain.

Other American runners also ran very well at UTMB including Joe Grant (20th), Topher Gaylord (24th), Tim Englund (86th) and Mark Gilligan (160th). There were 1,382 finishers.

To find some good articles on the race, please go to:

Check out a video of the event:

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Video produced by Chamonet.Com

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