Rickey Gates November 18, 2011 TWEET COMMENTS 0

The UTMB Fun Run - Page 4

No sooner had the last runner left the Place du Triangle de l'Amitié than the rain picked up again. At the first checkpoint, five miles from Chamonix, the race commentator announced over the speakers spread around the plaza that Jornet had taken immediate command of the race and was "sprinting ahead of the pack."

Two hours and a grueling eight miles later, Jornet arrived in the town of Saint Gervais with compatriot and Salomon teammate Miguel Heras, recent winner of the hyper-competitive 2010 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. Five minutes later the rest of the field arrived in rapid succession. Amid clanging cowbells and falling rain, Roes entered Saint Gervais in seventh place, wearing a face-splitting grin. This, I suspect, was growing into the "organic experience" that he had hoped for.

"Running through Saint Gervais was amazing," says Roes. "I felt so much energy pouring from the crowds that I was running on air for that mile or two through town."

Jurek, Meltzer and Hawker followed close behind. To watch them come and go through the checkpoint where their teams got them water, food, dry clothes and information was comparable only to a NASCAR pit stop—practiced, rapid and precise.


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