On Friday, August 30, 2013, one hour before the UTMB started, the streets of Chamonix swarmed with spectators enthralled with the beat rhythm of the Batucada music, all the while runners remained focused as they sauntered up to the starting line. Two such completely different moods in one place are what make this world trail running gathering so magical. At 16:30 the thousands of spectators in the town center cheered ever louder to provide an encouraging send-off to the 2469 runners participating in this great loop around Mont-Blanc. The long-anticipated start was one of the major highlights of the world’s greatest mountain-running race.
For the tenth year in a row Petzl was one of the event’s official partners and set up nighttime headlamp assistance stations to support participants along every race of the event.
The UTMB® starting line
Several lead changes along the UTMB®
The lead went back and forth all night long, with some very surprising changes.
Just as runners reached the outskirts of town the battle for 1st place began. Seb Chaigneau dropped out at Les Contamines, acknowledging that he had not really had enough time to recover after his Hardrock 100 victory. At 03:30 in the morning in Arnuva, Miguel Heras, Anton Krupika and Julien Chorier were in the lead.
At that very moment, in the dark of night with his NAO headlamp comfortably in place, Xavier Thévenard decided to pick up the pace, passing each leader one by one. He then took over first place at Grand Col Ferret Pass. Xavier kept up the pace and remained out front all the way to the finish line. Only 25 years old, the young man from the Jura Mountains (France) won an amazing victory for his first time running the race, and even broke Kilian Jornet’s course record by one minute and forty-six seconds. A few years ago he did the same thing by winning the CCC on his first try. Anton Krupika was forced to drop out in Trient, 17:16:38 into the race. Miguel Heras hung on to place second, followed by Basque Javier Dominguez Ledo.
The race’s top women also put on quite a show. American Rory Bosio finished first in her category and 7th in the overall ranking.
Xavier, Miguel and Javier during the UTMB®
A breath of fresh air was blowing during this weekend’s race to circumnavitage the Mont-Blanc range, a spring cleaning if you will regarding some of trail running’s long-held clichés. At 29 and 25 years old respectively, Rory Bosio (USA) and Xavier Thévenard (FRA) both proved that being young does indeed have its advantages for this type of prolonged effort. Using the fantastic weather to their advantage, the Jurassian and Californian each put on a spectacular performance, proving all pre-UTMB® predictions wrong, and finishing the race in blistering time.
With their well-honed and slight builds, Xavier and Rory made light work of their more-experienced adversaries, including the Spanish contingent who always seem to make a strong showing when running around the Mont-Blanc range.
Of note was the public’s unwavering support all along the course for American Anton Krupicka as well as encouragement from Spaniard Kilian Jornet (three-time UTMB® winner in 2008, 2009, and 2001) who attended the event this time around as a spectator to simply watch and cheer on both the American and his friends.
Xavier (right) and Miguel (left), the first and second to cross the UTMB® finish line
UTMB® 2013 results
1 - Xavier THEVENARD - FRA - 20:34:57
2 - Miguel Angel HERAS HERNANDEZ - ESP - 20:54:08
3 - Javier DOMINGUEZ LEDO - ESP - 21:17:38
1 - Rory BOSIO - USA - 22:37:26
2 - Nuria PICAS ALBETS - ESP - 24:32:20
3 - Emma ROCA RODRIGUEZ - ESP - 24:48:14
Men’s and women’s podiums for the 2013 UTMB®
CCC® - a classic 100 km course – 5950m vertical
The day before, Catalonia celebrated Jordi Bes’s CCC® win, and France’s Savoie region held its own celebration for Caroline Chaverot’s victory in the women’s category. The race’s two new winners definitely recorded an important victory for their budding trail-running careers. 1320 runners finished the 100km and 5950m of vertical gain; a 70% success rate. A satisfying figure, helped of course by such great weather, but it also the result of better training and preparation by “amateur” trail runners year after year.
1 - Jordi BES - ESP - 11:23:01
2 - Sébastien CAMUS - FRA - 11:53:36
3 - Daniel GARCIA GOMEZ - ESP - 12:07:43
1 - Caroline CHAVEROT - FRA - 14:12:00
2 - Mercedes ARCOS ZAFRA - ESP - 14:21:15
3 -Delphine AVENIER - FRA - 14:45:06
I’m more of an adventure racer. I like a good challenge, the variety of disciplines, and the team spirit that’s part of an adventure race. This year is the first time I decided to run a trail ultra. The major difference between trail running and adventure racing is that you run alone. You have to remain focused on your race, and motivate yourself without any help during those "running on empty" moments.
During the day before the start of the CCC, it was nice to be able to chat with the runners from the TDS, to ask about how they handled the aid stations, what they wore, and their choice between "light" and "comfortable," so as to stack the cards in my favor in order to finish the race.
See you at the finish line!
At 04:32 in the morning, Guillaume crossed the CCC finish line (235th place overall and 71st in the V2 category). He successfully completed his first trail ultra, and received a warm welcome by Nathalie and Franck Mauclair. Congratulations, pictures, a good laugh… They shared their sentiments right then and there:
I’m happy to have finished this fantastic race. Both the race course and race organization were superb. At each aid station we were able to see what place we were in. The volunteers were incredible and it really helped boost morale when they called out to you by your first name (written on your bib). It was highly motivating.
This race was supposed to be a training run for me prior to competing in the "Tor des Géants," which starts in Courmayeur next weekend. I started out slow and easy. I wanted to observe how everyone else was running before picking up the pace, especially with runners like Antoine Guillon in the race! It was only once in Bourg St. Maurice that I really started to think about placing in the top 3, so I took off at a competitive pace.
When running I don’t think about much. I focus on the two key words that help me move forward, "run" and "fast." I come from the adventure racing world where the mental aspect plays an important role in making forward progress. Running has always been my preferred discipline, so it’s pretty normal that I’m now focused on foot races.
My favorite playground for training is still the Spanish Pyrenees. The rocky terrain and altitude allow me to work on technique, but the best of all is being able to run in such an extraordinary setting. It was in the Pyrenees that I was able to test my NAO headlamp and develop a personalized trail running program. It took a few tries to fine tune the perfect profile for me, but today the NAO is "my best friend" when running at night!
The Petzl team would like to thank Arnau for taking the time to talk about his passion for trail running. We wish him the best of luck for the Tor des Géants!
This is a wonderful first for me for an ultra. I had never before run anything longer than 100 kilometers. My goal this year is to run the Grand Raid in Reunion, but I did not want to miss the TDS and the chance to try a trail ultra. Running to win is a great motivator, and my signature technique is to start out fast. In retrospect I perhaps started out a bit too fast this time around, which meant that I had to hold on until the end. I learned a lot from the experience.
This is a new and spectacular victory for Nathalie Mauclair following her world championship title. A symbolic win for her:
"Beyond winning a race, it’s an entire family project that is standing on the podium."
Nathalie always receives support and assistance from her entire family; her husband and two children go with her to each race. A wonderful challenge to experience together.
Petzl by every runner’s side throughout the night
- The climb to Tête aux Vents
The second night of the race fell along the course’s last serious uphill section, the climb from Col des Montets Pass to the Tête aux Vents at 2130m elevation. The 669 meters of vertical gain represented the last challenge for participants to overcome. The climb is especially grueling and steep. Just prior to arriving at the checkpoint, runners enjoyed spectacular views of the Aiguille Verte, the Drus, and Mont-Blanc. Free of clouds, the summits sparkled during the sunset’s fading light; a magical moment and small reward for the handful of runners passing through. Night quickly fell and everyone turned on their headlamps while heading towards the final descent from Le Brévent and then to the finish line.
- Headlamp assistance in Trient
The CCC® frontrunners passed through Trient at around 16:30. Focused on the race, the first 100 runners hardly even stopped at the Trient aid station, preferring to ensure themselves a respectable place in the overall ranking. The first to arrive after nightfall were more than happy to be able to rest and to receive a little moral and physical support. They were also able to count on Petzl headlamp assistance. Petzl provided replacement batteries when needed or recharged the NAO’s rechargeable battery while runners took a break to eat.
Petzl also provided UTMB runners with replacement batteries during the race’s second evening, helping to ensure that those participants in difficulty had the requisite lighting power and visibility to finish the race safely. Most participants were low on batteries or did not have enough charge in their rechargeable battery since they often forgot to turn off their headlamp after the first night. Even at the 130 kilometer mark, some participants were still smiling and jovial, while others were clearly enduring, motivated only by the thought of finishing the king of all trail races that is the UTMB. Their families and Petzl were there to assist and support these runners all the way to the finish line at the Place du Triangle de l’Amitié in the center of Chamonix.
A fanfare finish with Ziriguidoum playing in the streets of Chamonix.
UTWT: something new for the international trail running scene
Major news for the trail running world was announced this last weekend in Chamonix. The UTWT (Ultra-Trail® World Tour) will be created for the 2014 season; a circuit made up of different Ultra-Trails around the world set up by the ITRA (International Trail Running Association). The UTMB® will of course be included as well as other ultras such as the UTMF (Ultra-Trail® Mont Fuji) in Japan and the Marathon des Sables (Sahara Marathon) in Morocco. For races to be included in the UTWT, they need to be at least 100 kilometers long, have runners from no less than 20 different countries and a minimum of 500 participants.
The UTWT will provide the opportunity to render the rapidly increasing number of trail ultras more accessible to a greater number of people. Following each stage, runners will earn points based on their placing. After the final stage, the trail runner with the most overall points will win the UTWT and be crowned world champion. Today eight races will be part of the tour. Other races will likely be added to include a dozen or so stages overall.
For more information
- Livetrail results on the UTMB website
- The official UTMB website
- Detailed information for the TDS on Petzl.com
- Petzl's Trail Running page
- Petzl's 2012 UTMB® Report
- Petzl news announcement for the event