Rickey Gates November 18, 2011 TWEET COMMENTS 0

The UTMB Fun Run - Page 6

Twenty miles away the president and founder of Hoka OneOne, Nicolas Mermoud, was playing host to a handful of top athletes which included Meltzer, Roes, and the Spanish duo Kilian and Heras Though the race appeared to be defeated by the weather, the determined young Spaniard was attempting to convince the others in driving with him to compete in the Skyrunning Marathon World Champs that would kick off in 36 hours.

Knuckles rapped on my door. "Rickey!" called Clifford called. "It's 2 o'clock! Up and at 'em!"

"Two o'clock what?" I mumbled through my pillow.

"Two in the afternoon. The race started at 10 this morning."

I pieced together the news of a make-up race. For several hours following the race's cancellation, information was passed around and distorted by abbreviated text messages, rumor and poor translation. It took days, weeks, to accurately piece together the information.

The parched throat and methodic thumping inside of my skull brought me back to rue Vallot and the subsequent after party at Jurek's apartment.

In the hours following the initial cancellation of the race the race committee led by Poletti had decided that a shortened version of the UTMB, following a less weather prone CCC route, would be held starting in the morning. However, due to both course restrictions and the inability to transport all of the 3600 runners that had been pulled from the UTMB and TDS combined only 1100 would be allowed to participate in the make-up race—first come, first served.

A text message was sent out at 1:26 a.m. alerting the athletes that the modified UTMB would be starting at 9:00 (later pushed back to 10 a.m.) that same morning in Courmayeur on the opposite side of the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Of the cell phones that were left on through the night, many never received the text -- a large percentage of those being non-French phones (speculation is either that the non-French phones were unable to receive foreign texts or, more likely, the network used by the UTMB organization was unable to send texts to non-French phones). In other words, those who had traveled the most distance and paid the most amount of money were the least likely to be able to participate in the consolation race.

For some, it was a great point of contention. For others the UTMB is what they had trained for and therefore to get into what Jurek took to calling the "UTMB Fun Run" was a null point. Says Roes, "The decision not to run the make-up race was really easy. That just wasn't what I came there for."


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