The UTMB Fun Run - Page 8
In the pre-dawn hours on Sunday morning, 33 hours following the start of the original race, the 297th finisher—a middle-aged Frenchman—shuffled towards the finish line. His body betrayed a face that looked as though it could handle no more. The colorful clothing that had announced his presence a day and a half prior was now muted by mud, sweat and blood.
Around the Place du Triangle de l'Amitié the speakers blaring AC/DC switched over to the very dramatic Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis, just as it had done for the previous 296 finishers. What appeared to be the Frenchman's two children joined him for the few final feet before the finish line and tears welled up in his eyes. Poletti welcomed him with a hug and kisses on both cheeks as a photographer snapped a finishing photo that would be available for purchase in a couple days' time.
Although UTMB organizers unabashedly crowned Brits Bragg and Hawker the 2010 UTMB champions, most runners believe no one can truly claim a title. Attention turns toward the race's production, with questions and debate that extend beyond the 2010 UTMB. What obligation does (or should) a race organization hold to the athlete given the athlete's investment into the event? Will the UTMB have a back-up plan in 2011? And, if so, is that not an admission of guilt for not having one before?
As the debate continues and race organizers evaluate their responsibilities, one thing is certain: a cancelled race leaves scores unsettled.
"I feel like I have unfinished business now," says Wolfe. "I want to race the full course, and against a full field of the top racers."
As for Jurek, the UTMB trophy is perhaps the only one missing in his prolific collection. "I was in the best shape I have been in for the UTMB and once again this race has alluded me," he says. "Yes, I will definitely go back."
UTMB—By the Numbers
33 drink stations
5450 drop bags to manage
48 check points
100 rescue workers
20,000 energy bars
8000 trail markers
900 pounds of salami
6000 pounds of cheese
55,000 text messages sent