Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc 2019 is all done and dusted, with American ultra-runner Courtney Dauwalter finishing as first female in her first ever UTMB event. UTMB is one of the world's toughest races, where an average of 31% of those who start end up as a DNF statistic.
Dauwalter's time of 24 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds was just under an hour ahead of second placer Kristin Berglund of Sweden (at 25h 34m 12s).
Pau Capell of Spain took the men's win in 20 hours, 34 minutes and 7 seconds, holding the lead throughout the entire race to gain the second-fastest time ever recorded.
Capell was followed by French runner Xavier Thévenard who finished over an hour later with a time of 21h 48m 04s. Third place was taken by Scott Hawker from New Zealand (21h 48m 04s).
The 2019 UTMB saw 2,543 runners set off from the start at Chamonix, with 1,556 finishers completing the event which covers 171km with over 3,000m of elevation.
Dauwalter, an athlete for outdoor brand Salomon, said of the achievement: “It’s pretty unbelievable to be among the group of people that have won this race. I never thought that would be me.”
“It wasn’t very smooth at all, but that’s why I like ultra-running,” said Dauwalter.
“I didn’t feel very fit the whole first half of the race. I felt really sluggish for a while and then in the last quarter of the race my legs were just toast and my stomach turned. I just didn’t get started right away. My body was not getting the ‘go’ sign. It took about 50 miles of warming up. So it wasn’t pretty, but we made it here.”
The 34-year-old has recently returned to running from a hip injury that forced her to pull out of the Californian Western States 100-mile race in June.
Dauwalter's was running for team Salomon – so unsurprisingly she was decked out in the company's ultra running gear. She used.
- S/LAB Ultra 2 running shoes
- S/LAB Sense Ultra foldable poles
- S/LAB Sense Ultra 8-liter running pack
- S/LAB 360 Motion Fit jacket
Full details of the UTMB results can be found at utmbmontblanc.com including all race distances that took place across the week.
Image credit: Martina Valmassoi