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Jim Walmsley gets the win at UTMB

This was Walmsley's fifth appearance at the race that's known as the Super Bowl of ultra-trail

men's podium UTMB 2023 Photo by: Paul Brechu

On Saturday in Chamonix, after years of trying and failing to score that elusive victory, Jim Walmsley, formerly of Flagstaff, Ariz., but more recently a resident of France, finally achieved his dream of being the first runner to cross the finish line at Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). The three-time Western States winner and course record holder crossed the line in 19 hours, 37 minutes and 43 seconds. Walmsley was pushed hard by Zach Miller of Colorado, who led for much of the race, ultimately finishing second just minutes behind Walmsley, in 19:58:58 (a big improvement on his fifth-place finish from 2022); Germain Grangier of France rounded out the podium in 20:10:52–a huge accomplishment after his DNF in 2022.

Jim Walmsley
Jim Walmsley at UTMB 2023. Photo: Jan Nika

This is the first time an American man has ever won the race (which is now in its 20th year), and the first time both men’s and women’s podiums were topped by Americans: the invincible Courtney Dauwalter was the top female for the third time, crossing the line in 23:29:14, in 25th position overall, after breaking course records at both Western States and Hardrock earlier this season. Katharina Hartmuth of Germany crossed the line in second place in (24:10:52) and Blandine L’Hirondel of France finishing third (24:22:50) in her first 100-mile race and her first appearance at UTMB.

Dauwalter’s win is historic; this is the first time in ultra-trail history that any runner has won Western States, Hardrock 100 and UTMB in the same season.

Courtney Dauwalter
Courtney Dauwalter at 2023 UTMB. Photo: UTMB

For Walmsley’s fans, who have been rooting for him to crack the code at this race ever since his first appearance, back in 2o17 (he was fifth that year), his win felt like a huge vindication. Walmsley moved to the area in 2021 to immerse himself in the process of training for the win, which had eluded him so many times. His mentor is four-time UTMB winner François D’haene, who also lives in the area and who crewed for him this year.

Walmsley first ran UTMB in 2017, finishing fifth. He DNF’d in 2018, and again in 2021, then finished just off the podium in fourth in 2022.

Dual Canadian-French citizen Mathieu Blanchard, who finished second to Kilian Jornet in 2022, was fourth today, in 20:54:25 (Jornet did not race this year due to injury). Ailsa MacDonald, who finished second at Western States last year, finished seventh in the women’s race (25:48:54). Last year’s second-place finisher, Marianne Hogan of Montreal, did not race this year due to injury. Claire Heslop of Toronto finished 11th, in 28:05:39.

Mathieu Blanchard
Mathieu Blanchard after finishing 2023 UTMB. Photo: UTMB

Top 10 men

  1. Jim Walmsley USA 19:37:43
  2. Zach Miller USA 19:58:58
  3. Germain Grangier FRA 20:10:52
  4. Mathieu Blanchard FRA 20:54:25
  5. Ludovic Pommeret FRA 21:00:54
  6. Thibaut Garrivier FRA 21:10:38
  7. Tyler Green USA 21:19:21
  8. Hannes Namberger GER 21:20:46
  9. Arthur Joyeux Bouillon FRA 21:31:22
  10. Baptiste Chassagne FRA 21:38:11

UTMB 2023: who and how to watch Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc

Top 9 women

  1. Courtney Dauwalter USA 23:29:14
  2. Katharina Hartmuth GER 24:10:52
  3. Blandine L’hirondel FRA 24:22:50
  4. Fuzhao Xiang CN 24:50:33
  5. Maite Elizondo ESP 25:02:26
  6. Katarzyna Solińska POL 25:20:23
  7. Ailsa Macdonald CAN 25:48:54
  8. Leah Yingling USA 26:21:24
  9. Sabrina Stanley USA 26:58:53

(At the time of publication, only nine women had finished.)

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