François D'Haene at the Heart of the UTMB
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A well-known international race, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc brings together the best ultra trail runners from all over the world to take up the challenge. This 171km loop, with about 10,000 meters of elevation gain, departs from Chamonix, nestled in the French Alps, and crosses through parts of Switzerland and Italy.
Record holder since 2017, François D'Haene successfully completed the UTMB in 19 hours, 1 minute, and 54 seconds. To this day, no one has beat it. This year, he's attempting two major feats: the Hardrock 100 (miles, that is), an ultra trail race in Colorado, as well as the UTMB.
A trained physical therapist, winemaker, ultra runner, and father, François D'Haene is dedicated to all alpine sports. And whether he's managing to juggle all those sports or not, it's always with a good dose of humor and humility.
"I had recently won a 72km trail race pretty easily, even though it was my first long distance race. So, I decided to go for my first 88 km CCC®, with a lot of (too much) confidence. After 50km, I was on my hands and knees crawling uphill, and my whole body was cramping. I started way too fast, which is not smart at all! I just told myself that in a few days time, I'd look back at how I was feeling in this moment and laugh. It really put things into perspective: this wasn't just a sport. Humility is super important in these moments. In the end, I finished 5th, thanks to a life-saving nap I was able to sneak in at the next rest stop."
What surprises does Francois still have in store for us this summer?
Check out our web series about this incredible athlete!