Sunday, October 2, 2011

2011 UTMB, in all its glory

I'm a little late on getting to this, but I finally was able to watch the video footage from the 2011 UTMB. (It's really only 25 minutes long, not the 55+ it says it is.)

UTMB 2011 by Eurosport - in English by UltraTrailMontBlanc

A couple of observations:

Watching Kilian and his two countrymen run top three for the majority of the race reminded me of high school cross country and the pack mentality that we are taught to race with. Those three stuck together until the end and just dominated the field. Who says this can't be a team sport? (That said, my crew and pacers are my team, and there are no pacers allowed in European races.) Kilian may also be the best male ultra runner in the world this year, winning Western States and UTMB this year is an impressive double.

The UTMB racecourse is breathtaking in its beauty and corresponding difficulty. Ultra running is not a spectator sport and is not spectator friendly, but the folks who put this race together had excellent coverage at the aid stations and remote areas, by helicopter no less.

Just one year I'd like to see the race have decent weather throughout, with no route changes or late starts. With the unpredictable nature of mountain running - where no person's finish is guaranteed - that may never happen.

Finally, the joy on all runner's faces - especially the amateurs - as they come into the finish chute and cross the line may be the best explanation as to why we do this - it is that single moment of euphoria and the accompanying cascade of emotions. Although limited in time, that moment stays with us forever. I have anticipated it in all of my ultras, and I finally felt it when I finished the Superior 100. It calls us back, and makes us beg for more.