Montreal runner finishes third at UTMB
Francois D'Haene wins record-setting fourth title
Although there were many amazing performances at UTMB over the last few days, our hats are off to Montreal’s Mathieu Blanchard for this third-place finish at 21:12:43, which is the highest finish by a Canadian at the world’s most famous ultra race.
Blanchard, a citizen of France who lives in Montreal, is a highly decorated athlete who last ran UTMB in 2018 when he finished 13th early in his career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, while Montreal was basically in lockdown, Blanchard put together a short film called Confiné showing the runner blazing his way through eerily empty city streets.
UTMB was won by Francois D’Haene, his fourth victory. D’Haene took just 20 hours and 45 minutes to complete the epic 170-km course, which included an amazing 10,000 metres of climbing.
In snagging his fourth title, D’Haene is now the winningest competitor in UTMB history, eclipsing three-time champion Killan Jornet.
UTMB, or Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is a single-stage ultra-marathon first held in 2003. The route, which begins in the town of Chamonix, follows the Tour du Mont Blanc hiking path, which is usually completed in 7-9 days by hikers and is a loop around Mont Blanc — the highest mountain in the Alps.
Coming in at 20:58:31 was Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz of France, good enough for second place.
In the women’s race, it was another repeat champion as American ultra legend Courtney Dauwalter won for the second consecutive time in a time of 22:30:54. Second place went to France’s Camille Bruyas in 24:09:42 followed by Mimmi Kotka of Sweden in a time of 25:08:29.
The top Canadian female finisher was Claire Heslop in a time of 32:14:25.
In this year’s event, 1521 runners finished the event of 2347 who started.
All photos courtesy of UTMB.