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Montreal’s Mathieu Blanchard and his brother, an amputee, set off on epic journey across Jordanian desert

In 2018, Mathieu Blanchard's younger brother Luca was struck by a car near his home, losing his left leg

Mathieu Blanchard UTMB Photo by: Jordi Saragossa

On Friday, two-time UTMB podium finisher Mathieu Blanchard of Montreal will set off on the most important journey of his life. From Nov. 11 to 18, Blanchard and his younger brother, Luca, will run 150K across Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert to show the world what humans are capable of.

Mathieu and Luca Blanchard
Photo: Justin Galant (Instagram @justingalant)

In 2018, Mathieu’s perspective on life changed forever as his brother fought for his life after being struck by a car. The incident happened less than a mile from his parents’ house in France. “Luca was found on the side of the road, lying in a pool of blood with his left leg shattered,” says Mathieu. “It was a miracle Luca survived that day.” He was only 15 at the time.

Mathieu, who was living and training in Montreal, returned to France to be with his brother, who was in a coma. “I kept telling him everything was going to be OK, and how I wanted him to be at UTMB in 2018,” says Mathieu.

Luca Blanchard
Luca Blanchard. Photo: Justin Galant (Instagram @justingalant)

Doctors had to amputate Luca’s left leg, and he now uses a carbon prosthetic. “When Luca came to support me at 2018 UTMB, the event changed him,” Mathieu says. “He was inspired to show the world that despite his handicap, he can still do hard things.” 

In 2019, Mathieu promised Luca he would take him on one of his ultra adventures when he turned 20. On Friday, the brothers left the city of Aqaba, Jordan, to start their 150K journey across the desert. You can follow Luca’s and Mathieu’s journey on his Instagram or Strava page.

Mathieu and Luca Blanchard
Luca and Mathieu Blanchard. Photo: Justin Galant (Instagram @justingalant)

The French-Canadian ultra-trail runner has had his brother there for his two UTMB podium finishes in 2021 and 2022. 

There will be a short documentary created around the journey, called Balance. “This project aims to show humans that hard things are possible and that my brother can be “handi-capable of anything,” says Mathieu.

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