US athletes' conquest of UTMB®

Community
06/04/2017
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More than two hundred American runners are expected on UTMB® this year. A record of registrations that places the United States in the Top 10 best represented nations on the event. This increase also concerns professional athletes with 37 elites engaged on the 4 UTMB® races, a figure that places the United States in third position, behind Spain (44 runners) and France (52 runners). UTMB® is the most exciting race for American athletes with as many as 23% of them in the elite category. In an attempt to understand American trailers’ appeal for UTMB®, we asked few questions to Sage Canaday, Rory Bosio, Tim Tollefson and Dylan Bowman. For the launching of our blog, they share their motivations for UTMB® and underlined some trail-running differences between US and Europe.

Sage Canaday

On trail-running in the US

"American’s races are very limiting because there aren't as many runners competing. It is hard for all the top runners in the world to compete on one stage in America due to these limitations. European trail-running races take place in mountain enviroments with more runners and a bigger audience following the race!" 

On UTMB®

"This race inspires me, I like top competition and on UTMB® I can run with the world's best runners. It's super motivating! There is also the course which is beautiful, mountainous. And then there is the experience: traveling, coming to Chamonix, discovering a culture. It’s always great and every time I meet very wonderfull people. "

Career Highlights

1e Speedgoat 50K 2014
1e Speedgoat 50K 2015
2e Moab Trail Marathon 2016
1e Black Canyon Ultras 2016
1e The North Face Endurance Challenge California 2014 - 50M

 

Rory Bosio

On trail-running in the US

"I think in general ultra-running has been more popular and given more recognition in Europe than in the US but I think ultra-running is becoming more and more of a main stream sport in the US, which is great. Obviously France is steeped in the mountain running culture and has been for years. In the US it has been more of a niche sport but it has grown immensely in the past 5-10 years. I think UTMB® and other euro races are attractive to US runners because we see how much a way of life trail running (& mountain sports in general) is and how appreciated it is here. The level of enthusiasm, not just from the running community but from the public at large, is immense in France. This is something many US runners wish we had more of over here. I think it's great that we Americans get to come over here and experience trail running Mecca and hopefully bring that enthusiasm back home." 

On UTMB®

"UTMB® is such an iconic race that most US runners I know would jump at the chance to participate. I think a lot of US runners view it as a must-do race and plan their summers to allow them the time to come over. The fact that it continues to attract an extremely competitive field only makes it that much more appealing to elite runners. For me, the beauty of the race, the challenge of the trail and the amazing atmosphere are incomparable. Every mountain lover should put UTMB® on the top of their must-see lists."

Career Highlights

1e UTMB® 2014
1e UTMB® 2013
1e The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2014 - Lavaredo Ultra Trail
1e The North Face Endurance Challenge New York Bear Mountain State Park 2014 - Goretex 50 Mile
1e The North Face Endurance Challenge Utah 2014 - 50 Mile

 

Tim Tollefson

On trail-running in the US

"We have an incredible trail running culture in the US with a deep rooted history in preserving the environment and ethos that allow our sport to exist.  One difference you'll find with many American races is that the scale of their participation and crowd support is smaller than many European races.  It's similar to Le Tour De France and American cycling.  Both have a passionate fan base but in America it has yet to be accepted as a major sporting event." 

On UTMB®

"With American success the past few years and wonderful films such as Billy Yang's "Mont Blanc, highlighting the uniqueness of the race", I think the lure stateside has increased as Americans have been treated to more coverage of UTMB®.  The scale of the race is unlike any trail event in America so the chance to experience something new and unique is present. At the elite level, it could be argued that becoming the first American male to win UTMB® is one of the last top honors to be earned in ultra-running, along with a win at Comrades. It is something that has never been done and so many greats over the past decade have tried.  We will likely continue to see the numbers increase each year until one of us finally top the podium."

Career Highlights

3e UTMB® 2016
2e CCC® 2015
1e Flagline 50K 2014 - Flagline Fest 50 Etats-Unis
2e The Broken Arrow Skyrace 2016 - 52K
8e The North Face Endurance Challenge California 2014 - 50M

 

Dylan Bowman’s point of view

On trail-running in the US

"In the USA, we have lots of amazing mountain environments to explore, but due to protection issues, it's really hard to organize a race through our most scenic terrain. As such, UTMB® offers a wonderful opportunity for Americans to actually race in the mountains."

On UTMB®

"The event is professionalized in a way we don't see in the USA which makes it attractive to Americans. It's spectator friendly and carries enormous significance on the international ultra-trail calendar. Even for people who don't make it into UTMB®, there are lots of other options to enjoy the Mont Blanc region, whether by doing one of the shorter races (CCC®, TDS®, OCC), or just doing the Tour du Mont-Blanc circuit for training." 

Career Highlights

1e 100 Miles of Istria 2017
1e Tarawera Ultramarathon 2015 - 100 Km
1e The North Face Endurance Challenge New York Bear Mountain State Park 2014 - Goretex 50 Mile
2e The North Face Endurance Challenge California 2015 - 50M
1e The North Face 100 Australia 2015 - 100 Km