This week, the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc was officially cancelled for 2020, and as a result, race organizers are releasing the 2019 event footage to runners and fans for free. This would have been the eighteenth edition of the trail race, but athletes will have to wait until 2021 to race through France, Italy and Switzerland again. Luckily, fans of the event can rewatch last year’s run, and although it’s not as good as the 2020 race going ahead as planned, it’s still some good news in these hard times. The race footage can be viewed at the Endurance Sports TV website.
What is UTMB?
The UTMB is an event with seven different races, all of which take place in Chamonix, France, each August. The biggest of these events is the 171K UTMB Mont-Blanc race, which takes runners through the the Alps in France, Italy and Switzerland. Runners also have to climb more than 10,000m over the 100-mile event, which is higher than Mount Everest. It is an epic race and challenge, and each year thousands of runners travel to France to see how they fare in one of the seven races (although a third of the UTMB Mont-Blanc runners don’t make it to the finish line). If you’ve never watched this event, you’ll definitely want to check it out.
“The UTMB is a huge event to be cancelled this year, yet we don’t want fans to miss out, and have therefore opened up all of last year’s content for free,” said co-founder of Endurance Sports TV Paul Shanley. “We hope that this will give runners the next best thing to look back on all of the action from 2019.”
The 2019 edition of the UTMB saw thrilling results, including American Courtney Dauwalter‘s win in 24 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds. This was Dauwalter’s first try at the UTMB, and she nailed it, beating the second-place female, Kristin Berglund of Sweden, by almost exactly an hour. Dauwalter finished in 21st place overall, and she was the second American finisher, crossing the line just seven minutes after fellow American Jason Schlarb.
On the men’s side, Spain’s Pau Capell won in 20:19:07. He became the first non-French UTMB champion since 2011, when his compatriot Kilian Jornet won. Capell crossed the line almost 50 minutes ahead of France’s Xavier Thévenard, a three-time winner of the event.
Worth a (re)watch
Rewatching this event, or watching it for the first time, is a great way to get motivated for your own training. It can be tough to find inspiration to train right now during COVID-19 with no races to work toward, but watching UTMB 2019 will certainly give you the boost you need to get back into action.