Sunday evening saw the last of the trail runners cross the finish line in the centre of Chamonix, signalling the end of the most exciting event of the summer in the valley. Now stalls have been removed from Place Mont-Blanc, runners are gone and the streets and trails of our beautiful town are a lot quieter.
Catalán athlete Pau Capell was the winner of this event's main race, the mighty UTMB with its 170 kilometres and over 10,000m – or two whole Mont-Blancs – of ascent. The Spaniard completed the course in 20h19, almost 50min before Xavier Thevenard, who got there in 21h07. The first female runner to cross the finish line was American Courtney Dauwalter, at 24h34. This gruelling run isn't for the faint of heart as 987 of the 2543 starters didn't finish the race.
The third-longest course, the TDS which involves 145km of mountain trails, was won by another Spanish athlete, Pablo Villa González, who arrived in 18h03, with Audrey Tanguy, from France, being the first woman at 21h36. Fourth in length, the 101km CCC saw yet another Spaniard arrive at the finish line in Courmayeur in the first place; Luis Alberto Hernando Alzaga completed the course in 10h28 while Ragna Debats, from the Netherlands, won in the women's category at 12h10.
In the OCC, which involves 55km, Norwegian Stian Angermund-Vik was victorious at 5h19, with Ruth Charlotte Croft from New Zealand winning the female race at 5h50. Finally, the 300km of the PTL, which is tackled in teams, saw the French Les Frangins squad arrive in first place at 83h19.
A few novelties have been announced this year, including the introduction of a new entry process in 2020 with a lowered scale of qualifying points and a more flexible lottery. In 2021, it will change even further as a parallel system is implemented – based on "Running Stones", these will be awarded to finishers of a limited number of selected races and will grant direct entry for the UTMB in Chamonix. The creation of a brand new European race, the Vall d'Aran UTMB in the Spanish Pyrenees which will take place in July 2020, has also been made public.
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