Recovery is going well for the thousands of athletes who toed the line at the UTMB races last week. The hype continues to saturate social media as trail and ultrarunners share their stories about what happened at the YCC, MCC, OCC, TDS, CCC, and UTMB events. The summer heat eased off throughout the weekend with sporadic storms, and the Canadian runners demonstrated their true North grit in the Alps, with impressive finishes.
The Youth Chamonix Courmayeur race is for runners born between 1997 and 2005. It’s the first race to take place, on the Tuesday before UTMB. The 15K race gains approximately 1,000 metres. Canadian Jacob Hiom, 20, finished 59th overall out of 145 runners in a time of 2:09:56.
The “De Martigny-Combe à Chamonix” race is 40K leaving from Martigny-Combe in Switzerland, finishing in Chamonix while gaining over 2,300 metres. Canadian Kathryn Ezra crossed the finish line in 6:48:32 placing 365, and Yu Rong finished in 7:50:41 placing 595 out of 950 finishers.
The OCC race travels 55K from Orsières in Val d’Entremont through the eastern flanks of Mont Blanc, gaining over 3,500 metres. Twelve Canadians finished OCC this year before the 14-hours-and-30-minutes cutoff.
Alister Gardner (68th overall in 6:36:49)
The “T” in TDS doesn’t stand for technical, but it most definitely should. The “Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie” race connects the Aosta Valley to the Savoie from Courmayeur with stunning views of Mont Blanc in 145K and 9,100 metres. Four Canadians crushed this year’s TDS race, with Audrée Lafreniere placing first Canadian overall. Marie-Line Chamberlain, Mike McLean, and Sabina Tolean from Canada also finished the tough mountain ultra race.
CCC is known as the little sister of UTMB, and is quickly becoming one of the most prestigious and challenging races in the world. The 101K race starts in Courmayeur, gaining over 6,100 metres through the Alps. Runners have 26 and a half hours to move self-sufficiently through remote mountains. Twelve Canadians persevered through to the finish line in a stacked international field. Alberta’s Ailsa MacDonald ran to sixth place, once again proving her talent and tenacity in one of the most competitive races in the world.
Ailsa MacDonald (54th overall in 13:24:41)
Other impressive Canadians include Arden Young, who battled hard on the course, but determined a DNF was the right call.
At 6:00 p.m. on Friday August 30, 2,543 runners toed the line for the 2019 UTMB 171K with 10,000 metres of gain in Chamonix. With a 46 and a half hour cutoff, the event is more than just getting to the start line healthy. Not only do runners need to train smart, it can take years of strategic planning and calculating points by finishing the necessary qualifying races. Regardless of how the weekend unfolds, the race is undoubtedly a celebration of the human spirit, and 23 Canadians celebrated the finish.
Brian McArthur (82nd overall in 28:55:55)
Simon Marcil (Celebrated his 40th birthday on course)
Alissa St-Laurent also made the call to DNF at the 143K mark after over 26 hours on course and a bad fall.