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Istria 100 by UTMB
17th April 2023

UTMB World Series triple-header weekend delivers course records, breath-taking scenes and countless memories

From Croatia’s peninsula to the Eastern Mountains of China and the dramatic gorges of Colorado, it was an incredible weekend of racing for UTMB® World Series runners across the globe, with Running Stones the reward for all finishers and direct qualification to the UTMB World Series Finals up for the taking for the top athletes.

Walmsley smashes course record at Istria 100 by UTMB

The stunning Croatian peninsula of Istria welcomed over 2,000 runners from around the world for the 10th edition of Istria 100™ by UTMB®, with Jim Walmsley (USA) storming to victory in the 100-mile race, smashing Dylan Bowman’s course record and securing his place on the UTMB start line at the UTMB World Series Finals in the process.

From the starting blocks in Labin, Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon (FRA) set a furious pace and established a gap as the sun set on the mountains overlooking the Adriatic Sea. He was soon to be reeled in by Jim Walmsley (USA) after 35km of racing.

Having ran his own race from the off, Walmsley made the difference in the early hours of the day and pushed on to finish the 168.6km and 6,590m+ route in a blistering time of 17.40.34; a new course record. When asked about his race strategy, he said: “I wanted to run a bit more conservatively, rather than just run solo off the front as that is asking for a difficult night. Arthur was setting an honest good pace which was at times hard to keep up with, but something was telling me it was time to go after the 100km mark and that is where it started to open-up!”

He added, “The timing of this race worked out well, opening the summer calendar. I will now look forward to racing some other races this summer in the lead up to UTMB.”

Pavie Kruljiac (HR) rounded out the podium in 19:17:49, turning to the crowd to take a bow and thank them for their support before crossing the finish line.

In the Women’s category, it was heartbreak for Esther Fellhofer (AUS) who was forced to withdraw despite spending over 110km of the race in the lead with a large gap. Kimino Miyazaki (JAP) went on to take a commanding win in 23:11:21, followed by Mariya Nikolva (BGR) and Stefania Buzincu (ROU) in 25:28:20 and 26:26:29 respectively.

Setting off from Buzet, the 110km course enjoyed typical Istrian inland trails before merging with the 100-mile route and continuing to climb to the highest peak of Istria. In the Men’s race, Théo Le Boudec (FRA) was victorious in a time of 09:55:43, with Helio Fumo (PRT) and Martin Halász (SVK) rounding out the podium in 09:58:15 and 10:08:09.

In the Women’s Race it was another closely fought battle, with Sarah Vieuille (FRA) crossing the finish line in 11:13:03, just two minutes ahead of Paulina Tracz (POL), with Ida-Sophie Hegemani (PRT) in third.

It was an extraordinary finish in the 69km ‘Green’ race, with Stian Angermund (NOR) and Andrzej Witek (POL) crossing the finish line together in a time of 05:19:31, with Andrew Davies (GBR) crossing the line in 3rd place.

Angermund said, “This was my first race of the season, and I am happy to cross the finish line with a new course record and with my new teammate!”

In the Women’s Race, the 2022 CCC Winner kicked off her season in style. Blandine L’Hirondel (FRA) crossed the line in 05:56:23, with Anna-Stiina Erkkilä (FIN) and Fabiola Conti (ITA) in second and third in times of 06:13:55 and 06:18:15.

View the full results for Istria 100 by UTMB, including the 42.1km and 21.4km distances here.

Istria 100 by UTMB

Breathtaking views at Desert RATS Trail Running Festival by UTMB

Celebrating its 20th anniversary edition, Desert RATS Trail Running Festival by UTMB proved to be a real celebration of running for everyone. The race welcomed runners of all ages across the five distances, including the oldest competitor Bill Moyle, who at 84-years-old completed the 21km race, and the youngest runner to tread the trails, 7-year-old Hazel Mahoney, who finished the 10km race.

While continued heavy rainfall in the days before forced the 100km race to be rearranged to an alternative 50km race the following day, it certainly didn’t dampen spirits as Craig Hunt (USA) stormed to victory after putting in a huge kick just a few miles from the finish, leaving teammate John Rea (USA) in his wake.

Finishing in 03:39:45, Hunt said: “The race was great and went to plan as I wanted to stay controlled and conservative. I lay the hammer down with about 3 miles or so to go but knew John had some 100-mile strength in his legs so wasn’t sure what he had left. Thankfully it worked in my favour.”

Despite missing out on the top step by just under two minutes, Rea was also buzzing after a great day out on the trails. He said, “The course was really fun with lots of twists and turns and little ups and downs that are engaging on the mind! You feel like you are dancing and twisting around!”

Yutaro Yokouchi (JPN) was also in contention for most of the race, making up part of the leading trio before finishing in third place with a time of 03:52:53.

In the Women’s Race, it was a close battle between Arden Young (USA) and Michele Yates (USA) before Young started to pull away. Elena Ormon (USA) rounded out the podium in third place.

A victorious Young said, “We couldn’t do the planned 100km today for reasons beyond our control, but I am still so glad we got out there and had a fun day. The course today was stunning, the trails were in good condition, and everyone was wonderful out there!”

It was an incredible comeback for Yates, returning to racing after almost four years due to illness and surgeries. Finishing just 6 minutes behind the winner, Yates said: “I had a lot to leave out there today. I absolutely loved being out on the trails and would encourage everyone, even beginners, to get out there and try one of these races!”

In the original 50km race, Brian Whitefield (USA) crossed the line victorious in 03:31:19, closely followed by Arnaud Bonin (FRA) and Jeffrey Colt (USA) in 03:35:06 and 03:39:15 respectively.

Speaking after the race, Whitefield said: “Everything about the race was awesome but my favourite part was probably the competition. We had people here racing from Europe and some fast young guys! It was a competitive field, but we still had fun out there and shared some banter during the race.”

In the Women’s Race, Meghan Cihasky (USA) took the win by just over 30 seconds after overtaking Peyton Thomas (USA) who had led for much of the race, with Gabriella Brinkley (USA) in third. The sportsmanship was apparent throughout with Thomas commenting, “I was in the lead for most of it and then was sick halfway through which made the next half of the race interesting as I struggled to fuel properly. When Meghan showed up, she was awesome and supportive when I was going through it so thanks to her for that.”

View the full results including the 42km and 21km distances here.

Desert RATS Trail Running Festival by UTMB

Commanding wins for Duo and Yao at Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB

An incredible light show lit up the start line this weekend at Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB as over 4,500 runners took on the challenging peaks and discovered the bamboo forests of Eastern China across four distances. In the 100km race, Ji Duo (CHN) and Miao Yao (CHN) stormed to victory, and with it securing a spot in the UTMB World Series Finals.

Duo, a Tibetan elite runner from Sichuan province who previously finished third at the 2020 Panda Trail by UTMB (100 mile), flew up the mountains to complete the course in 10:46:58. He said: “My initial goal was to obtain the ticket to UTMB Mont-Blanc, which means I needed to finish among the top 3 finishers. This was very important to me so I am very happy with the result. I look forward to the Finals in Chamonix and will start the preparation as soon as I go home.”

It was an all-Chinese podium, with Guomin Deng (CHN) and Mengkai Bate (CHN) rounding out the places.

In the Women’s race, Miao Yao was crowned champion, with her time of 11:35:48 also securing her sixth place overall. Having suffered a DNF at UTMB Mont-Blanc in 2019, Yao opens her season in strong form and secures automatic qualification for the 2023 UTMB Mont-Blanc. Fuzhao Xiang (CHN) finished in second place in 11:55:50 with Anna Li (CHN) rounding out the podium in 13:35:36.

Speaking after the race, Xiang said: “The course is rather technical, so it wasn't always easy. People kept telling me that I was not far from Miao Yao but I tried my best. Before the race, I was hesitating between the ULTRA-TRAIL Mt.FUJI and the Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB, then I’ve decided to choose this one because it’s the most important trail running event in China. I truly believe that one day Ninghai will become as influential as the ULTRA-TRAIL Mt.FUJI and Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB on the international stage.”

In the CNH60 race, both Yousheng Guan (CHN) and Ruifang Zhou (CHN) claimed their first UTMB World Series victory. After Guan, Juwei Zi took second and Hu Zhao third in the Men’s race.

A close battle played out for second and third in the Women’s race, with Jun Liu finishing in 06:54:39, just a few minutes ahead of Chaochao Wu in 06:57:56.

View the full results of Ultra Trail Ninghai by UTMB here.

Ninghai by UTMB

Next up on the UTMB World Series calendar is The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB. With this event also acting as the UTMB World Series Americas Major, runners will have the opportunity to double the amount of Running Stones compared to other UTMB World Series events while top 10 male and female runners in the 100M, 100K and 50K categories will automatically earn their place in the respective races at the UTMB World Series Finals.

TRAIL : Dacia X UTMB® World Series
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