Jez Bragg takes UTMB! US runner Mike Wolfe finishes 2nd!
This year we could almost consider this a UTMB stage race. Starting in a downpour 2300 or so runners from all over the world took off from Chamonix on a journey only to be ended quickly at 30k, only about 18 miles into the race. In the lead at the time was Killian Jornet (no surprise there), with a few US runners Mike Wolfe and Geoff Roes close behind. The runners were stopped at Les Contamines aid station because of howling winds, a possible landslide (I can’t confirm that yet) and snow over the Col de Seigne. It was nasty to say the least. Fair to say with conditions like that, it was a smart decision. With no one really knowing what was going to happen, many of us had a few beers, a few glasses of wine and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, only to get a text message at 3am letting us know we could start with the TDS race (98k) in Cormayeur the next morning. About 300 runners from the original UTMB made it over there for the 10am start. I was one of them, Mike Wolfe, Helen Cospolich, Scott Mason, and Cory Johnson were amongst the US contingent to make the trip through the tunnel to Cormayeur. So off we went on tired legs from yesterdays 18 fast miles.
My legs felt like lead! It was a tough start for me, but I managed to get up the first climb to the Bertone not too far off the front….maybe 6-7 minutes I’m guessing. Mike Wolfe looked strong and fluid, I could see it may be his day. It was his day…almost. Mike chased Jez Bragg but came up just a bit short about 7 minutes behind when it was all said and done.
My race turned a little better half way into it. I was in roughly 40th place at La Fouly, but felt my mojo come bck a bit and passed nearly 20 runners before Lac Champex. From that point on, I was in small mini races and held my position to the end finishing in 16th. I had a good strong finish after bumping into Geoff Roes and Rickey Gates up near La Flagere. While this was not my best race, I can say I did get it done and finished strong, something I always look for. Check results here: www.ultratrailmb.com, click on results and see how an incredible organization gets down to business. No other race is this dialed in. There are about 1000 volunteers here and it’s obvious they know what they are doing.
NEXT UP: 2250 miles along the Pony Express Trail for me. I’ll be starting on September 14th from Old Town Sacramento. We should have live tracking of my progress along the way, as well as some almost daily video, comments…..you get the picture. Whereskarl again, this time in nowhere Nevada, nowhere Utah, nowhere Wyoming, and nowhere Nebraska. What’s another 50 miles a day for 45 days right?
Stay tuned for more info on the Red Bull Human Express coming soon. I’m gonna get some sleep.