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10th October 2023

UTMB World Series debuts galore as runners take on South Korea’s volcanic island at TransJeju by UTMB, before attention turns to California for Kodiak Ultra Marathons by UTMB.

Tao Luo (CHN) and Wenrong Zheng (CHN) victorious at TransJeju by UTMB with epic close battle in women’s race.

Last USA event of the 2023 UTMB World Series incoming as Kodiak Ultra Marathons by UTMB makes its debut.

Over 3,300 runners discover the volcanic island of Jeju, South Korea with close battles and technical challenges making for an unforgettable edition at TransJeju by UTMB

TransJeju by UTMB® made its UTMB World Series® debut this weekend proving to be a huge success, with over 3,300 runners taking to the startline in Seogwipo, on the volcanic island of Jeju in South Korea. Tao Luo (CHN) and Wenrong Zheng (CHN) were victorious in the queen stage, tackling the highest peak in South Korea; Halla Volcano as part of a testing 100K course with 4,019m+ of climbing.

Sitting in third place at the first checkpoint, Luo worked his way to the front of the race before the halfway stage and never looked back, taking the tape ahead of Guidu Qin (CHN) and Ji Duo (CHN).

“I am very happy to win the TransJeju by UTMB and to take my first victory over the 100km distance. I was surprised by how technical some sections of the track were, it was physically demanding but the enthusiasm of the Jeju people throughout the course was infectious,” said Luo.

It was an incredibly close battle in the women’s race, with Wenrong Zheng (CHN) winning by just four seconds ahead of Lin Chen (CHN) after over twelve hours of racing. Kanaka Edamoto (JPN) rounded out the podium in third.

Describing it as a milestone in his career, Xingjing Li (CHN) took the tape in the 50K race, ahead of Ryunosuke Omi (JPN) and Guangfu Meng (CHN). Speaking after the race, Li said, “The course is challenging but I think it is perfect, with its combination of ancient roads and trails.”

As the pre-race favorite in the women’s race, Fuzhao Xiang (CHN) took a commanding win, with her time of 05:06:46 also earning her 7th place overall. Anna Li (CHN) and Xin Wang (CHN) secured the remaining positions on the all-Chinese podium.

Hong-Kong based runner, Harry Tabor (GBR) took the win in the 20K race, opting for the shorter distance after his debut at Dacia UTMB® Mont-Blanc CCC last month. The battle for second and third was a close one, with 흥근 박 (KOR) finishing just over 20 seconds ahead of Jaemin Kim (KOR).

Having already tackled Trail Alsace Grand Est by UTMB® and Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB® this season, Helene Juramy (FRA) took on the latest race of the UTMB World Series, securing an impressive win in the women’s 20K race. Youngdeog Yu (KOR) and Kihyeon An (KOR) joined Juramy on the podium.

From the volcanic landscapes of TransJeju by UTMB to the alpine mountain charm of Kodiak Marathons by UTMB, California will play host to another debutant UTMB World Series event on 13-15 October.

All results from the weekend are available at the following link.

Mountain charm meets alpine race as UTMB World Series heads to California for Kodiak Ultra Marathons by UTMB 

Big Bear Lake, California will play host to Kodiak Ultra Marathons by UTMB® on October 13-15, as the event prepares to make its debut on the UTMB® World Series stage. With the tagline ‘Mountain Charm Meets Alpine Race’, runners will summit Sugarloaf Mountain, descend into Siberia Canyon, and take in all the rustic charm and stunning views of the iconic Big Bear Lake and its surroundings.  

As the last USA event of the 2023 UTMB World Series, local runners will be on the hunt for Running Stones closer to home, while international runners will also get to discover the jewel of the San Bernardino National Forest, just a few hours outside of Los Angeles. Double celebrations await, with the event also acting as a Dual Qualifier for both the UTMB World Series Finals and Western States™ 100 Endurance Run.  

Race Director, Susie Schmelzer looks forward to welcoming runners to Kodiak Ultra Marathons by UTMB, as they line-up to take on one of the five distances on offer during the three-day festival: “We are excited to welcome nearly 1,300 runners to Big Bear Lake for the 10th Anniversary of Kodiak Ultra Marathons by UTMB! This is our first year as part of the UTMB World Series and we are excited to elevate this race on the global stage. Runners will enjoy the varying landscapes of the San Bernardino Mountains, including canyon passages, alpine vistas, High Desert cactus, flowy singletrack, time on the Pacific Crest Trail, and views of Big Bear Lake throughout their run. Our team has been working hard to produce a great event, and we are excited to welcome runners to our mountain town!” 

Having won the 100-miler in both 2021 and 2022, Tony Torres (USA, UTMB Index 763) knows the event better than most and looks forward to returning to try and defend his title in 2023.  

“It is a dream of mine to three-peat at this event, but I try to be humble and leave it in gods hands. Kodiak is a home race for me, and it is a pleasure to be able to compete in such a prestigious event that happens to be in my backyard. It has beautiful views and is very challenging, it is truly a unique experience,” said Torres.  

He faces a strong international field, including Jhon Barrera (COL, UTMB Index 841), Nicholas Lightbody (CAN, UTMB Index 828), Vincent Bouillard (FRA, UTMB Index 816) and Elan Lieber (USA, UTMB Index 794).  

In the women’s race, Tara Fraga (USA, UTMB Index 740) is looking like a strong-contender, coming off the back of a top-ten finish at Dacia UTMB® Mont-Blanc 2023 – CCC® last month. She will face European counterpart, Claire Bannwarth (FRA, UTMB Index 696) who heads into her tenth 100-miler of 2023, enjoying another busy and successful season.  

Like Torres, Jesus Topete JR (USA, UTMB Index 778) will also be back to defend his title in 2023 after winning the 100K last edition, establishing over an hour’s buffer on second place. He will also be joined by women’s winner, Alissa St Laurent (CAN, UTMB Index 706) who is looking stronger than ever after her impressive victory at Grindstone Trail Running Festival by UTMB® 100M last month.

The 50K also features a stacked field, with Seth Ruhling (USA, UTMB Index 893) ready to unleash over a shorter distance after finishing 6th at Dacia UTMB Mont-Blanc 2023 – CCC.  

He will line-up alongside American runners Eli Hemming (USA, UTMB Index 913) and Anthony Costales (USA, UTMB Index 890) who had an incredible outing at Western States 100 Endurance Run this year, finishing third.  

Dani Moreno (USA, UTMB Index 773) will be looking to bounce back after food poisoning forced her to retire from the OCC race at Dacia UTMB Mont-Blanc 2023. Having won Eiger Ultra-Trail by UTMB® – E35 earlier in the year, Moreno looks to be in good form and could add another victory to her name on home soil. 

Emkay Sullivan (USA, UTMB Index 765) will also be looking for a strong comeback from a DNF at the UTMB World Series Finals. Having enjoyed a strong season, including 3rd at The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB® – 50km, and 9th at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Austria in August, could California be the perfect stomping ground for her first major victory of 2023?  

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