WOMENS UTMB 2019: COURTNEY DALTWATER WINS, WITH KRISTIN BERGLUND SECOND AND MAITE MAIORA THIRD.

 

Late Sunday afternoon—still dressed in her customary long prototype Salomon shorts that appear more suited to the basketball court than a running catalog—Salomon trail running athlete Courtney Dauwalter was trying to process the fact that she had won the famed Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB®). Considering that the likeable 34-year-old American has made a habit of winning more than a few ultra races over the last few years, that seemed a bit surprising.Kristin Berglund finishes 2nd to give Salomon top two places in women’s race

Dauwalter was the fastest around the gorgeous Mont Blanc massif by running a smart, controlled race early on because she didn’t feel quite at full strength. She took the lead after the Bonatti aid station at 90 kilometers on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc, then extended her lead while in Switzerland. When Dauwalter crossed back into France, the outcome was hardly in doubt. She won by nearly one hour over Sweden’s Kristin Berglund, who finished in 25:30:20 to make it a 1-2 day for Team Salomon in the women’s race. When she did, Dauwalter told the thousands of fans at the finish line in Chamonix that there would be at least one or two celebratory beers in her immediate future.

In addition to her prototype S/LAB shorts, Dauwalter relied on a full kit of Salomon apparel and gear to navigate the course’s more than 10,000 vertical meters (33,000-plus feet). Her gear included: the S/LAB Ultra 2 running shoes, an S/LAB Sense T-shirt, S/LAB Sense Ultra foldable poles and the S/LAB Sense Ultra 8-liter running pack with soft flasks. In her pack, she carried the S/LAB 360 Motion Fit jacket, waterproof Salomon pants and other mandatory gear.

DECLARATIONS COURTNEY DALTWATER: “It’s pretty unbelievable to be among the group of people that have won this race,” she said after winning the 171-kilomter (106 mile) race on her very first try in a time of 24 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds. “I never thought that would be me.

It wasn’t very smooth at all, but that’s why I like ultra-running,” said Dauwalter, who was coming back from a hip injury that forced her to abandon the Western States 100 mile race in California earlier this season. “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 crowd and the atmosphere were incredible,” said the resident of Golden, Colorado. “That was more high-fives than I have given in my entire life.”

WOMENS PODIUM: COURNEY DALTWATER, KIRSTIN BERGLUND, MAITE MAIORA. 

 

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REGISTRATIONS UTMB: 2020, A YEAR OF TRANSITION

 

The new entry process will be implemented gradually so that the organization can honor its commitments towards runners already benefiting from an advantage in the lottery (coefficient 2, direct entry). The novelty lies in the implementation of a new scale of qualification points and the implementation of a more flexible lottery:

 

2020 qualifying points scale

  • UTMB : 10 points acquired in 2 years (in races 2 maximum). That is, 5 points less compared to the current scale.
  • TDS: 8 points acquired in 2 years (in races 2 maximum). That is, no change
  • CCC: 6 points acquired in
  • OCC: 6 points acquired in 2 years (in 2 races maximum)
  • MCC: no qualifying points requested, the race is reserved for volunteers, local runners and partners
  • YCC: for younger athletes
  • PTL: selection upon presentation of a file, no qualifying points requested

 

 

This will allow the runners to be more flexible with the races they have to run and organization thinks it will be healthier for the ultra runners as they won’t be so stressed to be able to run in Chamonix.

Implementation of a lottery with tickets for first-time applicants

From 2020, the lottery will become more flexible using a ticket model. Runners who are not lucky on their first attempt through the lottery will have better chances of being selected in following years. The probability of being selected is therefore proportional to the number of times a runner has failed to gain entry in the previous years. Runners can also decide to apply for a different race each year (ex: apply for the UTMB the first year, then for the TDS the following year) or to take a/or more than one, year break from their running.

Two exceptions:

  • 2019 applicants will keep their advantanges
    • Coefficient 2 in 2020 lotery
    • Direct access in 2021
  • Finishers of Ushuaia 130km and Oman 130-160km will get direct access in 2020

 

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UTMB: 2021, AN EVOLUTION, OPEN AND MORE FLEXIBLE

 

In addition to the lottery, which will continue to exist and the ticketing system, and in order to allow for as many runners as possible to one day be eligible to enter the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, the organization will introduce a parallel system offering faster access to its races, starting from January 2020.
The system will be based on the concept of the “Running Stones”, which will only be awarded to the Finishers of a limited number of races, carefully selected by the UTMB. Running Stones will be recorded on a database, which runners can refer to check their up to date stock. Once they have gained the requested number of running stones, runners will get a direct entry for the UTMB Mont-Blanc race of their choice without having to go through the lottery.

If the runner doesn’t have enough Running Stones, he/she will be able to trade them for additional tickets in the lottery thus improving the probability of being selected.

From January 2020 and not before, it will be possible to collect Running Stones by participating in some of the most incredible races around the world: the existing “by UTMB” events (Gaoligong, Ushuaia, Oman, etc.) as well as, and this is a first – the 2020 Ultra-Trail World Tour events. UTMB and Ultra-Trai® World Tour formalize therefore a major strategic partnership, recently signed, whose objectives are to better define ultra-trail running in the trail running world and to develop new sporting and marketing synergies. The 2020 international circuit resulting from the partnership between the UTMB and the Ultra-Trail World Tour will be presented to the press at the 2019 UTMB® Mont-Blanc event.

 

 

How to gain the Running Stones and how are they awarded?

Finishers of the ByUTMB races:

1 ITRA point = 3 Running Stones

Finishers of the UTWT races:

1 ITRA point = 1 Running Stone

(The number of running stones is likely to change from year to year depending on the number of applications)

For instance, finishing 160km (MGU) Gaoligong byUTMB = 18 Running Stones, that is 6 ITRA points. If runners have their qualifying points, they will be able to enter the UTMB Mont-Blanc races without having to go through the lottery. Running Stones expire after 4 years. Running Stones gained in 2020 can be traded for entry to a 2012, 2022, 2023, 2024 UTMB Mont-Blanc race of their choice. If they are not used during those 4 years, they will expire unless they are exchanged for additional tickets. The Running Stones can be used to enter the UTMB, the TDS, the CCC and the OCC. Special registration conditions apply for the MCC, the PTL and the YCC.

 

 

 

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MORE ON SKIMO, TRAIL RUNNING AND MOUNTAIN GEAR

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Info by Abel de Frutos for Trailrunningspain