The 2014 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc saw familiar faces roar to victory after Francois D’Haene and Rory Bosio sealed their second UTMB wins in Chamonix, France.
Frenchman D’Haene dominated this gruelling 168K ultramarathon from start to finish to set a new course record of 20hrs 11mins 44secs, surpassing Xavier Thevenard’s time set last year by 23 minutes.
The 28 year-old put in a sensational finish to claim the win 44 minutes ahead of the chasing pack, reinstating his claim as the world’s best ultramarathon runner and taking back his UTMB crown after his first win back in 2012.
He said: “It is always unbelievable to me. Especially yesterday, it was incredible.
“The race, all the people in Chamonix that supported me, it was incredible and an amazing victory.”
D’Haene added: “It was odd, because three days before the race I was having some stomach problems, so I was a little bit stressed about that.
“I knew my legs should be good, but it is a long way to Chamonix.”
Spanish duo Tofol Castanyer and Iker Karrera crossed the finishing line tied for second-place after running the entire race together, finishing in 20hrs 55mins 42secs.
American Jason Schlarb ran a magnificent second-half of the UTMB to come fourth after being in 12th position at 64K, pipping Gediminas Grinius who finished fifth.
Former UTMB champion and UK ultra legend Jez Bragg mustered a 20th place finish in Chamonix after finishing in just over 24 hours, with fellow Brit Robbie Britton further back in creditable 54th.
Bossio the boss
Meanwhile Rory Bosio bided her time to be crowned back-to-back UTMB women’s champion after letting eventual second and third-placed runners Nurla Picas and Nathalie Mauclair share the spoils at the front of the pack.
The American ace was happy to slot in behind the top-two for the first-third of the ultramarathon before establishing a slender lead at the 77K stage in Courmayeur.
Bosio looked on target to break the women’s record that she had set last year, 22hrs 37mins 26secs, but she encountered a couple of rough patches in the latter stages that eventually let her down.
She crossed the finishing line in a triumphant time of 23hrs 23mins 20secs, a full 90 minutes ahead of second-placed Picas, who herself stormed away from early race leader Mauclair with nearly an hours gap between the pair come the finishing line.
Another notable mention goes to Great British ultramarathon runner Sarah Morwood who was the last person to complete the course on Saturday night in a commendable 11th place, 6 hours and 52 minutes behind winner Bosio.