It is 14h59, Sunday, May 20th, in Oike Park, by the peaceful shores of lake Kawaguchi. As the award ceremony reaches its end, Seiji Okamato and Ryu Kodama, the last two runners, cross the finish line hand-in-hand to a huge round of applause and are welcomed onto the stage by both the organizing committee and the winners of the races. Seiji Okamato proudly shows a bag full of trash he picked up on the trail and carried all the way.

arrival lasts

Julien Chorrier wins the raceHigh spirit of Trail Running

Even though there was a huge gap between the 18h 53 min it took race winner Julien Chorier (FR) and the 48 hours the last runners needed to run around the Mount Fuji volcano, the trail running spirit was in full force for this first edition of The Mount Fuji Ultra Trail. A strong spirit of commitment, will power and solidarity was present in each runner's mind, whatever their level. For each of them, finishing the race was a sort of personal Holy Grail.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki and the crew of organizers and volunteers can be proud of their event, which was no small task to set up and manage. Last year's race was cancelled, and this year the race had to be modified in the last weeks, as some of the areas were not authorized by the national park. As with every new event, there were some points to improve for next year, but the most important elements were covered, resulting in a successful first race with a lot of energy and emotions.

None of the participating runners will soon forget the experience of running around beautiful Mount Fuji area. Thanks to excellent weather conditions, the views of the mountain were magnificent and Saturday's red sunset, followed by Sunday's deep-blue sunrise, were great moments of harmony with nature.

adam Campbell on the run

A very engaged section on the race
As expected, the last quarter of the race turned out to be the crux. From check points A8 to A9, the distance didn't mean much compared to the 20 or so successive steep climbs and descents. This particular section reinforced the notion of self-sufficiency required on such a race -- on it, runners followed a ridge, with certain very steep portions equipped with fixed ropes. For many experienced racers, this terrain was a real surprise and they spent much more time than expected on this portion of trail. Michel Poletti, organizer of The North Face® UltraTrail of Mont Blanc® and experienced ultra-runner, admits that it took him more than nine hours to link the two checkpoints separated by "only" 27 km.

Adam Campbell on the run

At the lead of the race, after running with Julien Chorier until check point A4, Adam Campbell (CAN) took the lead for a few minutes. But the French runner soon caught up and passed Campbell again. Julien then passed A8 with a six-minute lead. On the section that followed, he was able to not only to maintain the lead, but to still gain precious minutes through the toughest section. He then ran alone to the finish line. Adam Campbell, who, impressively, was running in his first Ultra, proudly claimed the second-place step on the podium. Hiroki Ishikawa was in the running for 3rd place until he literally collapsed due stomach pain at check point A6 and was forced to abandon the race. The battle for third place was intense, until Kenichi Yamamoto, a Mont Fuji local, was able to set his pace and grab a spot on the podium.

podiums Utmf

Saturday morning at 10h00, the STY (82km) race is launched on the second half of the UTMF trail and brings in some fresh power. Although dealing with hip injuries, Fernanda Maciel chose to run the shorter race and brilliantly took first in the STY. After the second night fell on the race, the time gate of A8 closed at 20h00. Numerous men and women were still engaged in the most technical section and progressed in silence, guided only by their headlamps.

During the race, the two Petzl Headlamp aid stations at A3 and A8 turned out to be very useful. Employees of Japanese distributor, Alteria, replaced several lamps that were out of order and offered fresh batteries for maximum of visibility on the trails. Several runners were able to run with NAO demo lights and were very satisfied with the 350 lumens of intelligent light that they wore on their heads.

Results

UTMF 156 km Men

  • 1 Julien Chorier                   18:53:12 

  • 2 Adam Campbell                19:26:29 NAO
 runner
  • 3 Kenichi Yamamoto            21:15:02
  • 
4 Shogo Mochizuki              21:54:56 NAO
 runner
  • 5 Minehiro Yokoyama          22:33:48 NAO
 runner
  • 6 Koji Yamaya                     22:37:30 

  • 7 Shunsuke Okunomiya       22:48:23 NAO
 runner
  • 8 Katsutoshi Saijo                22:57:43 NAO
 runner

 
UTMF 156 km Women

  • 1 Nerea Martinez Urruzola    24:05:04 

  • 2 Hiroko Suzuki                  27:16:32 

  • 3 Nora Senn                        28:31:57 

  • 4 Yukari Nishida                  29:03:31 

  • 5 Hitomi Ogawa                   29:39:34 

  • 6 Akemi Ban                       30:12:10 


 
STY 82 km Men

  • 1 Toru Miyahara                   8:48:30 NAO runner
  • 
2 Osamu Misaitu                  9:00:24
  • 
3 Yoshihito Kondo                9:33:39 

  • 4 Jeremy Ritcey                   9:44:46 
 

  • 5 Hideto Sato                      10:07:33
  • 
6 Hiroyuki Okochi                10:16:02 NAO runner and Alteria employee

  • 7 Noriaki Yokouchi               10:24:42
  • 8 Tetsuo Watanabe              10:36:11 


     

STY 82 km Women

  • 1 Fernanda Maciel               11:08:12 

  • 2 Kumiko Amikura               12:32:30 

  • 3 Tomomi Kobayashi            13:02:37 

  • 4 Yuri Kanbara                     13:23:52 

  • 5 Shiho Hironaka                 14:10:53 

  • 6 Rei Hokari                        14:18:18

 
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