The mother of all races during the week-long festival of Trail Running, the UTMB saw around 2300 people sharing the same dream, setting off from Chamonix on the last Friday evening of August.
With a competitive line up in the men’s and women’s fields, the mountain race with numerous passages in high altitude above 2,500m is known to be the ultimate test in Ultra Trail Running, with breathtaking views throughout the passing of France, Italy and Switzerland.
Where the weather is unpredictable from the cold of the night to possible rain or even snow, it makes for an extremely brutal test across the 171km / 10,000mD+ race.
In their ﬁrst 100 mile attempt, Germain Grangier and Katie Schide were impressive, both crossing the line inside the top 10 in the men's and women's ﬁelds. Meanwhile our never-say-die Paul Giblin battled against all elements to finish in 24th. Also a fantastic ﬁnish for Germany´s Matthias Krah who was 17th .
FEEDBACK FROM : Katie Schide, 10th UTMB® 2019
"The startline of the race was absolutely crazy! There were people everywhere, hanging out of hotel windows, lining the streets… all there to support us in our crazy decision to run 100 miles around Mont Blanc. After the first 5-10 minutes of the race, my face hurt from smiling so much!
When the night finally set in I found myself not feeling so great and losing motivation. But I kept seeing familiar faces and hearing people cheering my name and I was able to hang in there. Then I met up with another female runner at an aid station and spending some time running and chatting with her really brought me back to why I was out there in the first place - to share an adventure with so many great people.
I’m really proud to have finished my first UTMB and my first 100 mile race without any major issues, and show myself that I’m strong enough to stick it out through some tough lows and make it to the finish line. Getting news of Germain looking strong and moving up in the field was a huge relief and gave me a little extra energy to keep moving, I was so happy and proud of him! I’m very grateful for all the people who came out to support us, from our crews at aid stations to friends who hiked in just to give a cheer and a hug. We’re so lucky to have such an amazing community of support around us and I really feel like that’s what ultimately got me to the finish line. I will definitely be back to UTMB as soon as possible, this race is too special to only experience once."
FEEDBACK FROM : Germain Grangier, 10th UTMB® 2019
"I was really surprised to feel pretty good leading into my first 100 mile race. I had a nice night / day around Mont-Blanc !
As it was my race of this distance and my first UTMB, I would say that my biggest fear was to know how my body would react to the distance. I took to the start with a conservative pace as I really wanted to finish the race. I felt pretty good and moved up step by step in the ranking.
I’m really happy I had a nice UTMB experience and have good memories of the race. Happy to be top 10 in my first experience and with how I managed the unknown. I feel like I have a solid base to work on now. There is defenately things to improve and risks to take if I want to do better next year. I’ll toe the line next year for sure…."
FEEDBACK FROM : Paul Giblin, 24th UTMB® 2019
Going into the race
"Doing UTMB after Western States 100 (At the end of June) is always tough. WS100 was the 29th June, so we had a week less to recover and train than the year before, You also have the long-haul travel to deal with too and I also moved to Chamonix (driving from Scotland) in that time.
I did some good training when I got to Chamonix mid-July and it included a full UTMB over 3 days, wild camping on my way round. It was a tough few days with all the additional weight to carry but worth it to remind myself of the course terrain and profile. The weeks leading up to the race are extremely busy - your training is at a peak, but you also have work demands and sponsor commitments to fit in too. Ideally you’d just train and rest. But few have that opportunity."
Important parts of the race
"The start of the race is still incredible even though I’ve been there a number of times. I was nervous the day before and waiting for the 6pm finish. But as soon as I left my house to get to the startline the nerves disappeared and I was ready for the adventure.
The first 15K is always pretty fast but I stayed relaxed - not worrying about who was around me. At the top of the first climb when you start to pick up the pace something happened with my hip and I hoped the pain would only be temporary. But it didn’t improve for the rest of the race. The biggest stress for me however was that it felt like I was already lacking power on one side and it was slowing me a little on the descents. But as with most ultras, it’s never over until it’s over and I was determined to accept the circumstances, stay positive and keep pushing even though I was losing time on plan.
By Courmayeur I had fully accepted that I wasn’t going to feel better. So I just got my head down and got on with it. I moved pretty well from Bertone and passed a lot of strong athletes right through to La Fouly. It was hot to Champex and I was low on energy and had kidney pain on the climb to the lake having had no crew since Courmayer. From Champex you just have to tick off each climb, until you reach the last one in Chamonix. Again having accepted the pain I moved well and passed a few more on the last big climb and the descent to the finish."
Are you happy?
"I’m not delighted about how things panned out, but I am happy however with how I dealt with things. It would have been easy to drop, or to fall into a really negative space. But I was able to accept the circumstances and move on. So I still felt that I had achieved something at the finish line even though it was outside what I had hoped / planned. It showed me that I’m still making progress as an athlete. Dealing with adversity is all part of running ultras. I had plenty to deal with but I endured and earned a really tough finish. "
Will I be back?
"Of course!! It’s a fantastic physical and mental challenge. It’s a crazy circus of a race and I do prefer more intimate events normally - but it’s the ‘Champions League’ of mountain ultra races, so I’ll definitely be back for something! "
A race that provided a lot more than expected with unfortunate course markings never stopped our athletes from giving up the fight. Grégoire Curmer took a great win, Ludovic Pommeret finish equal 2nd while Dav Hauss was impressive with 6th place in his longest ever race!
From August 26th to September 1st, 2019, Experience an extraordinary adventure in the heart of the mont-blanc country. The UTMB® is a trail-running event full of superlatives! An essential event for trail-runners from all over the world. Each year, the elite of the trail-running world find themselves in Chamonix alongside almost 10 000 runners keen to participate in one of the event's 7 races.