© Copyright — 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

*Cover photo used in social media credited to © P. Bréchu M. Challe

Americans Courtney Dauwalter and Jim Walmsley swept the podium at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) race over the weekend.

Courtney Dauwalter’s win

Many questioned whether Dauwalter was going to threepeat after winning the Hardrock 100 and the Western States 100 and setting new course records in both. That’s now three 100-mile wins in one summer for Duawalter. She led the race from the 32-kilometre point after taking over for Emma Pooley, of Switzerland and ended up clocking a 23:29:14 performance. France’s Blandine L’Hirondel took third.

The 38-year-old’s four-time Ultra Running Magazine Ultrarunner of the year, holds several other course records and smiles throughout the races, joking with volunteers during the 100 to 250-mile races.

The Minnesota school teacher is on a 20-race win streak, interrupted by a pair of DNFs. All 20 are 100K, 100 miles or longers except the Squamish 50, which is a 50-miler. Eight of those 20 races she holds the course record or “fastest known time.” One, she is the second fastest, and one she has the overall record at Moab 240, which is a 240-mile race in Moab, Utah — bettering all men.

Women’s results

  1. Courtney Dauwalter (Salomon) – 23:29:14
  2. Katharina Hartmuth (Hoka) – 24:10:52 
  3. Blandine L’Hirondel (Kiprun) – 24:22:50
  4. Fu-Zhao Xiang (Hoka) – 24:50:33
  5. Maite Maiora (Vibram) – 25:02:26
  6. Katarzyna Solińska (On Running) – 25:20:23
  7. Ailsa MacDonald (Saucony) – 25:48:54
  8. Leah Yingling (Lululemon) – 26:21:24
  9. Sabrina Stanley (adidas-Terrex) – 26:58:53
  10. Lucy Bartholomew (Salomon) – 27:39:23
  11. Claire Heslop (Salomon) – 28:05:39
  12. Martina Klančnik Potrč (Slovenia) – 28:21:05
  13. Emily Vaudan (Salomon) – 28:34:53
  14. Alice Coquard (Fartleck) – 28:52:26
  15. Kimino Miyazaki (Hoka) – 28:53:08
  16. Claire Bannwarthh (Raidlight) 1 29:12:-
  17. Man Yee Cheung – 29:14:31
  18. Katie Wright (La Sportiva) – 29:26:54
  19. Amanda Basham (Altra) – 29:29:57
  20. Alexis Crellin – 29:38:23

Jim Walmsley

Jim Walmsley is the first American male to win the UTMB race.

Nine out of the top 10 men from the 2022 edition toed the line, meaning, nine wanted vengeance. The depth of the field was one of the best all time.

The legendary Killian Jornet was out with injury.

Jim Walmsley spent the summer in Europe to focus solely on UTMB.

Unlike the women’s race, the lead changed hands several times throughout.

Walmsley though had apparently studied UTMB deeply and certainly focussed his summer on the 2023 edition. Perhaps he wanted the win just a little more than everyone else. He got it, clocking a 19:37:43 performance, which is a new course record.

For the men, with nine out of the top 10 men from 2022 returning, the depth of the field was unquestionable. And with Kilian Jornet out due to injury, it was anyone’s race.

The 33-year-old Phoenix, AZ native has won 19 of 23 ultra races that he has entered since 2016. Until 2019, they were mostly 50 milers. He owns a marathon best of 2:15:05, which he ran in 2020 at the Tokyo Olympic Trials. Twice before, Walmsley competed in UTMB only to finish fifth, then fourth in 2017 and 2022, respectively.

Zach Miller, a known, highly competitive athlete (aren’t they all?) clocked in a 19:58:58 for second place, while Germain Grangier took third in 20:10:52.

For school, Walmsley chose the Air Force Academy instead of one of several colleges that were on his shortlist. He acquitted himself well earning a best of 4:04 in the mile, 13:52 for 5000m, 29:08 for 10,000m and 8:41 for the 3000m steeplechase.

The UTMB race is actually 172 kilometres long or 106.5 miles. The elevation change is enough to render non-ultra runners inert. There is 10,000 metres or 32,800 feet of climbing. The UTMB circumnavigates Mont Blanc an extremely challenging and breathtaking stage.

Results

  1. Jim Walmsley (Hoka) – 19:37:43
  2. Zach Miller (The North Face) – 19:58:58
  3. Germain Grangier (The North Face) – 20:10:52 
  4. Mathieu Blanchard (Salomon) – 20:54:25 
  5. Ludovic Pommeret (Hoka) – 21:00:54
  6. Thibaut Garrivier (Hoka) – 21:10:38
  7. Tyler Green (Nike) – 21:19:21
  8. Hannes Namberger (Dynafit) – 21:20:46
  9. Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon (On Running) – 21:31:22 
  10. Baptiste Chassagne (Sidas-Matryx) – 21:38:11
  11. Joaquin Lopez (Kailas) – 21:47:12
  12. Daniel Jones (Asics) – 21:55:59
  13. Santos Gabriel Rueda (Columbia) – 21:59:01
  14. Ji Duo (Hoka) – 22:07:10
  15. Scotty Hawker (Vibram) – 22:13:58
  16. Thomas Joly (Hour 7) – 22:25:20
  17. Rod Farvard (The North Face) – 22:32:59
  18. Raul Octaviu Butaci (BigK) – 22:38:02
  19. Yan-Qiao Yun – 22:41:09
  20. Sergio Gustavo Pereyra (Scarpa) – 23:01:30

Full results

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