USA have their day at UTMB
It may be a marketing behemoth, but the drama, the joy and the tears are still as real as ever
It was the UTMB this weekend, and what can I say but “wow”. It really is the big dog of ultra running: that finish, with those huge, jagged mountains towering away in the background, the streets lined 10 people deep, everyone cheering, rattling cowbells, and the runners, coming back after setting off the day before - or two days before - to run over 100 miles through those mountains. The look on their faces is so intense, the exhaustion is so intense. The whole thing is so damn stirring - it almost makes me want to do it again.
Of course, you can rail against what a marketing behemoth it has become, and it has. But I mean, what a product! It’s a marketing man’s dream. Yes, teaming up with the likes of Ironman and Dacia is a long way from ultra running’s maverick, “into the wild” roots. But the drama is far from manufactured. No matter who the sponsor is, anyone running 100 miles around Mont Blanc is going through a real, life-ripping, emotion-mining experience.