Through The Alps and visiting 3 countries, UTMB 2023 is a massive challenge. Who will rise to the top this year?
What is UTMB?
Dacia UTMB Mont Blanc is the foundation and culmination of the UTMB World Circuit. For the first time the Mont Blanc race will serve as the finals of the series which has taken its participants over thousands of mountain miles across 6 continents. The Mont Blanc edition of the series will see over 10,000 runners taking on one of the 8 races on offer.
From the “short” ETC coming in at 15.2km with only 1200m of vertical elevation to conquer. On to the mammoth PTL, a team event over 300km with 25,000 or more metres of vertical gain. There is something for everyone to push their limits of physical and mental endurance while taking in some incredible scenery.
The blue riband event is the UTMB itself. A 171km tour of Mont Blanc covering nearly 10,000m of vertical gain with a cut off time of 46 hours and 30 minutes, easy right? Let’s take a look at some of those intrepid souls aiming for the podium this year.
Killian Jornet Missing Through Injury
Injury has robbed UTMB 2023 of the Spanish mountain legend. Whilst this is unfortunate news, it opens the door for someone. Who will fill his shoes?
Some of the contenders for the spot might include Mathieu Blanchard. Last year’s runner up who finished just 6 minutes behind the winner.
Perhaps the Brit Tom Evans, the 2023 Western States winner, could be the one. Doing the double would be an incredible feat of running. But in good form, with solid training and preparation under the belt, nothing is impossible!
Walmsley, the American endurance legend, is still aiming for his lifelong goal of a UTMB win. No American man has ever stood atop the podium and Walmsley aims to be the first.
With a fifth place in 2017 and a 4th in 2022, he is hoping to take top spot this time out. To underline the importance of the race to him, Walmsley moved full time to France in 2022 to train and run in The Alps.
Will we see the Stars and Stripes atop the UTMB 2023 podium in a couple of weeks?
The previous record holder for UTMB and hoping to be the first person to win the race 5 times. Coming in to the 20th edition of the race hoping to restore the French dominance of the 2010s, D’Haene will face stiff competition.
When he isn’t crushing mountain trails, he can be found making wine in the Beaujolais region of France. Will be cracking a bottle or two in celebration this year? Follow the coverage on Meta Endurance to see if the Tricolore will be fluttering above Chamonix come the end of the race at UTMB 2023.
An endurance running legend. Not only beating the female field but also usually beating many of the male field, the current female course record holder is looking to claim her third win in the UTMB. This year she has had a fine run of form in which she has set the course record in both the Hard Rock 100 and Western States 100.
Dauwalter is rarely alone on the trails with her mid-race hallucinations being almost as famous as her achievements. From giraffes to flying eels and leopards in hammocks we are left to wonder what she will see in the Alps this year. Will the wonderfully baggy shorts take the tape in first again at UTMB 2023?
In her first 100 mile race, L’Hirondel comes into the race as the CCC champion and having won Istria 50k earlier this year. Even though she has years of victories in trail and mountain running, this will be a new challenge for the French woman.
Unsure of how her body will react to the extra distance, she is looking forward to going beyond her limits and enjoying the journey along the way. Will UTMB 2023 give France its first female winner since 2016?
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