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Canyons by UTMB
2nd May 2023

Thrilling sprint to the finish at The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB, as attention now turn to La Palma for Transvulcania by UTMB

  • More than 1,900 runners enjoyed running through the canyons, wildflower-lined courses, and flowy singletrack along the American River
  • Mathieu Clément and Can-Hua Luo battle it out over the 100-mile course
  • Over 2,200 runners prepare to the rugged island of La Palma for one of the most respected and toughest events on the trail running calendar, Transvulcania by UTMB

The first UTMB® World Series Major of 2023 took place on April 28-29, with over 1,900 runners taking on The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB®. After racing for 17 hours, 5 minutes and 6 seconds, it was an incredible sprint down the finishing straight for Mathieu Clément (CHE – UTMB Index 841) and Can-Hua Luo (CHN – UTMB Index 878) in the 100-mile race. Crossing the line just two-tenths of a second apart, it was Clément who edged ahead to take the tape and claim victory.

With the 100-mile distance making its debut in 2023 at The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB, it certainly proved one to remember. Clement said, “It is a great course, and it was wonderful to discover the Auburn area with its canyons and its atmosphere. After the 106km mark at Forest Hill, the third-placed runner [Canyon Woodward (USA)] was just a few minutes behind so me and Luo had to keep up the effort all the way to the finish, but it was a sweet battle between us.”

In the Women’s Race, it was an all-American podium made up of Alyssa Clark (20:13:21 – UTMB Index 708), Alexis Crellin (20:55:06 – UTMB Index 699) and Annie Hughes (21:26:05 – UTMB Index 716). Clark, who lives in Southern California and so coped with the heat well, loved the event. She said, “The aid stations throughout the entire event were brilliant! Anything you wanted was right there. For me the best part was when we were approaching the 100km mark and everyone was at the aid station cheering for you, that is why I do it!”

Canyons by UTMB

Local favorite Cole Watson (USA – UTMB Index 883) came out on top in the 100km race, taking the tape before falling into the arms of his family and friends. Racing in his backyard, Watson was over the moon to take the win and claim both a spot in the UTMB World Series Finals and a Western States Golden Ticket. He said, “I have been waiting seven years for this moment! I know desire alone doesn’t earn you a Golden Ticket, but I had a lot of it today. This is for Auburn and my family!”

Adam Merry (USA – UTMB Index 858) and Justin Grunewald (USA – UTMB Index 859) rounded out the podium with times of 08:50:40 and 08:53:30.

The top three women were also flying, with Ida Nilsson (SWE – UTMB Index 771), Priscilla Forgie (CAN – UTMB Index 758) and Aroa Sio (ESP – UTMB Index 743) also finishing in the top ten overall. First-placed Nillsons said, “The course is super nice! I like this kind of smooth running where it is never flat and never boring but with fun rolling hills and single track among lush greenery and wildflowers.”

Having been focused on 100-mile training for Western States, Hayden Hawks (USA – UTMB Index 923) managed to pick up the pace for a fast and furious 50km victory, taking the win ahead of Jeshurun E Small (USA – UTMB Index 880) and Eric Lipuma (USA – UTMB Index 871).

When asked how the race played out, Hawks said: “I passed Jeshurun on the last climb with about three miles to go. I could tell I was climbing a bit stronger than him, but he was descending faster than me so I kind of let him go on the long descent before the final climb. I was able to pass him on the climb and go on to secure victory which I feel good about.”

Having retired from professional triathlon late last year, Heather Jackson’s (USA – UTMB Index 755) switch to trail running and gravel racing seems to be suiting her well. Jackson secured victory and took her first UTMB World Series win in the women’s 50km race, with a time of 04:09:36.

In the 25km race, it was close racing in the Men’s Race with Drew Macomber (ST– UTMB Index 838) crossing the line first in an impressive 01:32:36, followed by Will Fuchs (USA – UTMB Index 793) and Ezequiel Alexis Pauluzak (ARG – UTMB Index 781) in 01:33:27 and 01:36:36 respectively. Meanwhile in the women’s race, Alexandra Harriss (CAN – UTMB Index 686) showed fine form to take the win in 01:52:45, with Kenzie MacPhail (USA – UTMB Index 515) in second. It was a good day out for the Hawks family with Ashley Hawks (USA – UTMB Index 635) securing third in the 25km race.

With all events finishing in the gold-rush town of Auburn, it was a magical atmosphere as fans lined the finishing straight to welcome home runners across the categories. As a UTMB World Series Major, there was extra cause to celebrate with double Running Stones on offer to be used towards the UTMB World Series Finals lottery. Top 10 male and female as well as winners from each age categories of 100-mile, 100km and 50km also won their direct qualification to the UTMB World Series Finals.

Canyons by UTMB

UTMB World Series heads to the wild and raw mountains of La Palma for Transvulcania by UTMB

Over the weekend of 4th – 6th May, over 2,200 runners will head to the rugged island of La Palma for one of the most respected and toughest events on the trail running calendar: Transvulcania by UTMB®.

With four distances on offer – from an 100K Ultramarathon to a 20K Half-Marathon plus kids races and a 1.5km Vertical Challenge – the event has attracted a passionate local community of runners alongside a strong international field as they prepare to take on the forests and alpine conditions of the course, while discovering the beauty of the volcanoes and spectacular vistas.

Running along the backbone of the island, the Ultramarathon is considered one of the toughest ultras in the world, with its challenging positive elevation, mixed terrain and the long downhill into the finish that is renowned for destroying tired legs. Starting from the Faro de Fuencaliente Lighthouse, the route takes in a wild mix of stunning coastal vistas, steep mountain climbs and black volcanic landscapes mixed in with lush green forests to the finish at Los Llanos de Aridane.

Xavier Pocino, CEO UTMB Iberia said: “We are very happy to celebrate this second edition of Transvulcania by UTMB® and to return to this wonderful island. This year, in addition, we have more than 70 elite athletes who will take the start of our different distances. Transvulcania returns to May, its original date, after being held in October in 2022, and this is a sign that La Palma is also gradually returning to normality after the eruption of the volcano on Cumbre Vieja. The runners are looking forward to Transvulcania and to meet the warmth of the people of La Palma.”

Transvulcania by UTMB

Having finished third in the CCC® in 2022, Andreas Reiterer (ITA, UTMB Index 912) is one of the favourites heading into the race. The four-time Italian trail running champion kicked off his season with a victory in the 42km race at Istria 100™ by UTMB® and will be looking to take the tape again in La Palma.

He faces a star-studded international line-up with Yanqiao Yun (CHN, UTMB Index 902) also a strong contender having finished first at Val d’Aran by UTMB® (55km) and Puerto Vallarta México by UTMB (93km) in 2022. Another Val d’Aran by UTMB® (161km) winner will also be joining the battle for a podium spot. French runner, Germain Grangier (FRA, UTMB Index 880) will kick off his trail running season at Transvulcania by UTMB and after a solid winter at home skiing in the mountains, the alpine conditions and challenging terrain could work to his favour.

A legendary name not to be missed from the top contenders is that of Dakota Jones (USA, UTMB Index 889). Having won the race in 2012 aged just 21 years old, beating Kilian Jornet to the finish after a thrilling duel, Jones certainly made a name for himself in La Palma.

The Women’s Elite field is just as fiercely contested, with Meg Mackenzie (ZAF, UTMB Index 716) looking forward to finally getting her chance to be part of this iconic race. She said on her social network, “I have been obsessed with this race for years, since about 2013 when I started racing on the trails. I thought I had the chance to do it in 2020 and then we all went through the pandemic, then the volcano happened on the island in 2021 and then last year I had to drop out due to injury, so I am finally back on the magical trail and ready to run this dream race. I am counting myself lucky and grateful to be here, healthy and happy along with Martina Valmassoi for some island goodness."

Fierce battles will play out across each of the race distances, with none other than Luis Alberto Hernando (SPA, UTMB Index 851) welcoming them across the finish line and commentating on the live streaming. Having won the event three times and as the only person to do it consecutively, Hernando knows just how special this race is and no matter the distance or time.

Transvulcania by UTMB promises an event of huge physical and mental challenge, but with unforgettable views and paths that help dissipate the struggles. At the finish, 100k, 50K and 20K athletes will also pick up Running Stones which can be used to enter the UTMB World Series Finals lottery.

Live tracking and live streaming is available for Transvulcania by UTMB here.

Transvulcania by UTMB
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