Two thousand runners entered the North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc race through the Alps this year, but only one man and one woman stood atop the podium on Sunday. American Rory Bosio claimed the women's victory at the 100-mile race for the second consecutive year. Men's first-place finisher, Frenchman Francois D'Haene, also claimed a repeat win and a set a new course record.
Bosio crossed the finish line in Chamonix, France, with a time of 23 hours 23 minutes, while D'Haene set a new course record at 20 hours 11 minutes. Both runners finished 50-plus minutes before second-place finishers on a brutal course that was marked this year by wet and sloppy conditions. "It was pretty hard for me this year because it was so muddy," said Bosio, according to a report by Competitor.com. "I can already tell my legs are way more sore than they were last year. I always feel so tense when I am running in mud like that. Some of the downhills were super, super muddy and that just made it slower for me."
The UTMB is the showcase race among five that the North Face hosts in and around Chamonix over Labor Day weekend. Others include the 186-mile Petite Trotte à Leon, the 62-mile Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix, the 75.8-mile Traces des Ducs de Savoie, and the 33-mile Orsieres-Champex-Chamonix.
The UTMB is notorious among runners for its difficult terrain, high-altitude passes, and brutal weather. "It is one of the most difficult courses in the world," said Outside associate editor Meaghen Brown, who competed in the 2013 UTMB. "Even though you are out there with thousands of other runners, you aren't racing them as much as you are just racing the course."