François D’haene of France delivers once again in the Alps, achieving his fourth victory at UTMB today. D’Haene finished in 20 hours and 45 minutes to cover the 170-km course, climbing over 10,000m up and down the valleys of the Mont Blanc course.
This is D’haene’s fourth win in his fourth attempt at UTMB. He now holds the record for the most wins since the race began in 2003, passing Spain’s Kilian Jornet, who holds three.
Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz of France finished second, in 20:58:31, and Mathieu Blanchard, who lives and trains in the Montreal area but is a citizen of France, finished third, in 21:12:43. This marks the highest finish by a Canadian at UTMB and the first time that French citizens have swept the men’s podium.
D’haene led from the first breakaway and started a second breakaway group with American Jim Walmsley, who scored his third victory at Western States earlier this year. But as they began the climbing in Italy, D’haene dropped Walmsley and charged ahead. Walmsley dropped out of the race at about 100 km. Tim Tollefson and Xavier Thevenard also dropped out.
First women, seventh overall.
— Tim (@bimtaks) August 28, 2021
In the women’s race, it was American Courtney Dauwalter who rose to glory, for the second consecutive time. Dauwalter won in 2019 (the last time the race was held), and is the third woman to successfully defend her title on the hills of Mont Blanc. Dauwalter broke fellow American Rory Bosio’s 2013 course record, finishing in 22 hours and 30 minutes (which is all the more remarkable considering the course is two kilometres longer now than it was in 2013). Dauwalter was seventh in the overall standings, the highest finish ever by a woman, and an hour and a half ahead of Camille Bruyas of France in second place in her 100-mile debut, finishing in 24:09:42. Bruyas was 16th overall. Mimmi Kotka of Sweden finished third, in 25:08:29. At the time of publication, a number of Canadians were still on the course.