Spaniard Kilian Jornet won the 2022 edition of the Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) in less than twenty hours of racing, a record time, on Saturday in Chamonix. With this new victory, he equals another record, the quadruple of Frenchman François d’Haene.
Successful bet for the Spanish ultra-trail star Kilian Jornet. The athlete wrote a new page in his legend on Saturday August 27 by winning the fourth Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) of his career, signing a new record time, below the symbolic bar of twenty hours.
It has been eleven years since the filiform Catalan, 34 years old on the clock, had not won the queen of mountain running races, 171 km long and 10,000 meters high in elevation gain.
He also ran it in 2018 but was forced to retire after a wasp sting, to which he is allergic.
Jornet already had two victories to his credit this year in Zegama (Spain) at the end of May then in the Hardrock 100 (100 miles, around 160 kilometres) in which he beat his great French rival François d’Haene and set an absolute record for the ‘test.
The previous record time on the UTMB was set by his compatriot Pau Capell in 2019 and stood at 20 hours and 19 minutes.
Mathieu Blanchard second
Jornet is about five minutes ahead of Frenchman Mathieu Blanchard, on whom he managed to widen the gap over the last 20 kilometers.
The 35-year-old native of southern France was third last year in the event. The engineer by training has also been a celebrity on social networks since his participation in the reality show Koh-Lanta in 2019.
Jornet also left no chance to his American rival Jim Walmsley, who appeared in difficulty early in the morning on Saturday. As for third place on the podium, it could go to Briton Tom Evans.
After his first victories in Chamonix in 2008, 2009 and 2011, Jornet thus fulfilled his bet of equaling the quadruple record of Frenchman François d’Haene, absent this year on the UTMB.
However, the game did not seem won in advance for Jornet since his participation in the race had been questioned for a time this week after a positive test for Covid-19. After two days of suspense, it had not been confirmed until Friday noon, just a few hours before the start.
“I feel good, I don’t feel any symptoms (…), so the doctors gave me the green light for me to start,” he said in a video.
On the other hand, he had not succeeded in winning during the famous race in Sierre-Zinal (Switzerland) in mid-August, of which he was the big favourite.
A bereaved week of trails
Among the women, where the race seemed much more open in the absence of the American Courtney Dauwalter who won last year, it is her compatriot Katie Schide who should win after taking the ascendancy in course course on Canadian Marianne Hogan. The Maine native, who has long preferred team sports to trail running, placed eighth in the 2021 edition.
The arrival of the runners in Chamonix, which took place under a brilliant sun, comes to close a week of trails of different formats organized at the foot of the peaks of the massif of the giant of the Alps under the aegis of the UTMB Mont-Blanc.
The event was bereaved overnight from Monday to Tuesday by the fatal fall of a Brazilian trail runner near the Plan Glacier refuge.
Last year, a Czech competitor also perished in a fall of several tens of meters. These are the first two fatal accidents since the first edition of the UTMB in 2003.