OK, we’re a little late on this one due to international jet-setting travel for real work 🙂 But here’s the ‘brief’ guide to what’s going on at UTMB, which starts at 5:30pm French time today, so the middle of the night for our Australian friends. If you can’t be bothered to plough through reams of information, this short sharp guide will tell you who the main contenders are for this year’s big daddy.
As always, we kick off with the women and there’s probably one name you need to know about and that’s Rory Bosio. Not only did she win overall last year, but she pretty much tore the men’s field a new one too by finishing seventh overall. This year she’s clocked up wins at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile – New York and the TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail too. To be honest, this website thinks there’s no reason why she’s no going to carve things up again this year. Is there such a thing as a sure-fire thing?
However there are a few women out there that will try to prove otherwise. The likes of Nuria Picas, who won on our own shores at TNF100 back in May will have something to say about, as well as France’s Nathalie Mauclair who finished third atWSER100. Then there’s Fernanda Maciel, another familiar face to Australian faces where she finished third at TNF100 behind Nuria.
These four are the likely podium-getters, but keep an eye out for America’s legendary Meghan Arbogast, eight-time WSER100 finisher, along with UK citizen / Hong Kong resident Claire Price, who seems to just quietly go about her business with a massive smile on her face.
The men’s race is stacked with big guns, and a late ‘switch’ from KIMA of Dakota Jones too makes for a mouth-watering clash of some serious titans from the global ultra running world. The major dark horse for this race is Luis Alberto Hernando, not because he’s an unknown (being an Olympian is not ‘unknown’), but because anything can happen with this dude. First time over 100kms, yet a habitual podium-getter in races around Europe. Watch this space for Luis!
The class act on everyone’s lips however is Francois D’Haene, He smashed the field at Ultra-Trail Mont Fuji (again), along with the seriously tough Ice Trail just a few months ago. If Luis is the wildcard, Francois is ‘le Maitre’ of 100 mile ultras.
Then we have US pair, Timothy Olson and Mike Foote. This website makes no secret of our man-love for Tim – and his 30-hour finish at Hardrock only made us love him some more. A finish of pure guts and determination and a lesson to many elites about never giving up even if your podium is long gone in a smoke of mountain dust. Mike is another one of those who quietly goes about his business, including a cracking podium at UTMF behind Francois earlier in the year.
Dakota Jones, winner of our inaugural Buffalo Stampede back in April is in for this race, and like Tim had a rough ride at Hardrock, dropping just past halfway with a rolled ankle. If he’s all recovered, he’ll always be a big threat to the main bunch, and for this race is one of those guys who might sneak up the back corridor and sneak a podium if the form is right.
Last but not least, were going to give a big shout out to Aussie Andrew Tuckey. A guy that constantly flies under the radar and whom finished 36th at last year’s race. Ignore that. He’s in cracking form right now. He was involved in a sprint finish at TNF100 Australia with Stu Gibson in May knocking nearly 20mins from his PB – that was huge. Watch out for this guy. He will start right back in the field, mixing it in the top 50 in the first half of the race, before slowly cracking his way through the field. This website (although hugely biased), reckons he’s going to score a top 10, maybe higher.
That’s our ultra quick guide to UTMB this weekend. For coverage, click onto the UTMB website for details and we’ll be doing our best to keep up-to-date with what’s going on, despite a mid-race flight over to Singapore – I do hear there’s wif-fi on board now, so who knows 🙂