Why the 2022 edition of the UTMB will remain ultra-trail historic

An exciting finish between Jornet and Blanchard

Yes, there is the 4th coronation of the king of the trail running, 14 years after his first victory in Chamonix in 19, when he already shook the established order at his start and four years after his last participation, a retirement from UTMB. All this, after chaining two victories and two records this year in other monuments in the field, Zegama and the Hardrock 100. But if this UTMB is very epic, it is also thanks to an impressive French, the Mathieu Blanchard, who competed until the last kilometers (rare in a race of 170 km and 10,000 m of altitude difference) with the one who inspired him in his ultra debut, just five years ago. We even believed at one point that the 3rd in UTMB 2021, to everyone’s surprise (he was the first), would make the success of defeating the Spanish. But despite being weakened by a recent Covid, Jornet knows how to make his talent “GOAT” (Greatest of all time) tell the paths of the last surprising climb, a acceleration, “a monumental box” according to Blanchard, to match the number of victories for François D’haene. Epic.

The refreshing Katie Schide and Marianne Hogan

We knew it before the start: a new name is on the UTMB list this year. Without the double winner, American Courtney Dauwalter, who has dominated the world running scene in recent years, the women’s race, open on paper, was also exciting. The French Audrey Tanguy, twice winner of the TDS and who dreams of shining in the main event in Chamonix, seemed to have a good start before finally stopping after the Grand Col Ferret, around the 102nd km. A duel quickly ensued between American Katie Schide and Canadian Marianne Hogan, who overtook each other on several occasions. Both smiling, natural, joking and playing with the public who gave them back, cheering Hogan, 2nd, like Schide, winner with 1h16 ahead, he who lives … in France.

Katie Schide, at the end of UTMB. (UTMB)

Jim Walmsley: 2023 goal

He announced it loud and clear: UTMB has become the main goal of the American athlete who has given himself two years (2022 and 2023) to win the Chamonix race. For this, Jim Walmsley and his partner moved from Arizona to Beaufortain so that the athlete could acclimatize to the alpine racing format. To find it “European trail running culture”, which will also go through the discovery of ski mountaineering this winter. His test at UTMB on Friday started well, he was alone in the lead in the middle of the race, before encountering food difficulties in the Swiss part (km 140), and finally finished at the foot of the podium. Loudly applauded by the crowd, under the arch of arrival, he slips in a few words in French, promising to try to answer interviews next year in the language of Molière. Validating the less common popularity rating for an American in the Alps. So he has 2023 left to succeed in his bet: to become the first US trail runner to win the UTMB.

Jim Walmsley will return in 2023. (Hoka)

Jim Walmsley will return in 2023. (Hoka)

The first times in less than 20 hours

SUB40. The acronym, inspired by the famous SUB2 test of marathon runner Kipchoge, is on everyone’s lips – and is even displayed on the bus. And for good reason, the famous equipment manufacturer The North Face made it a slogan worn by its star athlete: Pau Capell, winner of 2019. Is this the right year to carry out this ambition of the Spanish athlete, who recently returned from a series of injuries? Probably not. After a good start, he was quickly abandoned by his main rivals to finally stop at Champex-Lac. Walmsley missed it before the race, that sub 8pm may not be enough to win this year’s UTMB. It’s true: driven by the beautiful weather and a breathless duel until the last kilometers, Kilian Jornet (7:49 pm) and Mathieu Blanchard (7:54 pm) were the first two runners to break the mythical bar at 8 in the evening. ” An amazing fight »thanks Jornet.

UTMB on the business side

This is nothing new: at UTMB, along with the race, there is business. We see it everywhere in Chamonix, in the Place du Mont-Blanc with its spacious Salon de la Course and even in the hotels and shops of the city, decorated in the colors of the biggest brands in the field. To see the number of people lining up to buy a t-shirt or a logo mug, it will attract many participants. The arrival of a new premium partner, Hoka, ultra-present and active, like the investment in Ironman, a famous organizing brand of triathlons, by the shareholders of the UTMB Group certainly brings the activity of a new level. branding level.

Supporting figures in terms of visibility on social networks and other media (460 accredited media from 34 countries), the organization confirms: “The media impact of this 2022 edition will be at least twice greater than during the 2021 edition, which has already broken all records”. This has been confirmed by many observers: this edition of the UTMB (also marked by the return of Asians since the pandemic), in terms of business, will mark the development of the environment, in full expansion in ten years.

10,000 runners (of 104 nationalities) participated in eight UTMB races in the Mont Blanc valley.  (UTMB)

10,000 runners (of 104 nationalities) participated in eight UTMB races in the Mont Blanc valley. (UTMB)

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