HOKA Sweeps UTMB 2016
Thousands of runners take the starting line each year at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, but a fraction actually finish. A hellish single-stage mountain ultramarathon, the UTMB traces the Alps for over 100 miles, taking runners through France, Italy and Switzerland and a total elevation gain of around 9,600 m. Did we mention there is no prize money awarded?
Only the “crazy” need apply.
But as they say, Crazy Does!
Yes, of the thousands of athletes that started the UTMB 2016, a challenge that is widely considered to be the most difficult foot race in all of Europe, HOKA One One is proud to announce that their athletes swept their respective fields. Ludovic Pommeret won the men’s division (finishing at 22:00:02) and Caroline Chaverot beat all women (with a finishing time of 25:15:40).
Women’s Division (25:15:40)
Though she led last year’s UTMB 2015 for almost 150 kilometers (90% of the race), Chaverot unfortunately lost her lead to Switzerland’s Andrea Huser because of debilitating leg cramps. The UTMB 2016 was a similar dance between the two, pressuring each other for nearly the entire race, but the result was decidedly different. Despite those same leg cramps and the addition of stomach pain on every single descent, Chaverot managed to maintain the lead at the finish line — a victory by seven minutes — which may sound like a decent margin, but was actually the closest one-two women’s finish in UTMB history!
Men’s Division (22:00:02)
The Frenchman took a drastically different path than his female counterpart. Although Pommeret started out at the front of the pack for the first 13 miles, similar stomach problems eventually took their toll and dragged him all the way back to 50th place. Fighting the urge to quit, on several occasions, he slowly crept back into the top 10 over the next 50 kilometers and built an impossible 26-minute cushion by the finish to win the UTMB 2016. Must have been the HOKAs!
While most runners take between 30 and 45 hours to reach the finish line of this impossible feat, Pommeret and Chaverot completed the loop in slightly more than 20 hours. For that and so many other reasons, we congratulate the pair on their most impressive achievement, as well as, HOKA One One for compiling such a fine team of athletes. Well done, all.