Over 1,900 Registered Runners Took On 2023 The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB In First Ever UTMB World Series Major In The Americas

April 30, 2023

AUBURN, Calif. (April 30, 2023) /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The 2023 UTMB World Series continued with the 2023 Canyons Endurance Runs™ by UTMB® on April 28-29. Over 1,900 registered runners descended on the historic gold-rush town of Auburn, California, an iconic destination in trail running considered the birthplace of mountain ultras in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The event marked the first ever UTMB World Series Major to be hosted in the Americas and gave finishers more opportunities to qualify for the UTMB World Series Finals held at UTMB Mont-Blanc.

From the famous Western States Trails to the leg-burning K2-climb, the natural wonders of the American River and landmarks such as the No Hands bridge, the ever-changing scenery and atmosphere in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain foothills created the perfect stage for The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB.

A first for this year was all distances of The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB started and finished in downtown Auburn. A Chamonix-style festival in downtown Auburn greeted all runners as they finished their journey from Friday night through Saturday night. Family, friends, and The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB team celebrated and cheered on the runners.

On Friday, new to The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB a 100-mile distance as runners took to The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB® course. It was Mathieu Clement (CHE) taking the victory after narrowly edging out Can-Hua Luo (CHN) by two-tenths of a second at the line in a sprint finish. Clement and Luo both finished in a time of 17:05:06. Canyon Woodward (USA) finished in third place with a strong time of 17:46:05. In the female race, it was Alyssa Clark (USA) being crowned champion in the 100-mile race with a time of 20:13:21. Alexis Crellin (USA) came home in second with a time of 20:55:06 and Annie Hughes (USA) completed the course in 21:26:05 finishing in third place.

“It’s a great course, more rolling hills compared to the steepness of what I’m used to in Europe, it was wonderful to discover the Auburn area, with its canyons and its atmosphere and it was a sweet battle with Lao. All the way through the final stretch and those last meters,” said Clement. “And the weather, the temperature is also very different from Europe, we had [95-degrees] during the day, I was well at the refreshment station. I stayed in the shade as much as possible. With the “by UTMB”, there was a good crowd at the start, there were good competitors. You had to keep pushing the whole time, not let go of anything. We saw that if we let go, we quickly lost our spots. After Forest Hill, the 3rd (place runner) was just a few minutes behind us. We had to keep up the effort. If a place was quickly lost, it’s harder to win and easier to lose.”

When asked if The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB was fun, Alyssa Clark said with a lot of emotion, “I get to do what I love every day. I couldn’t be more lucky to do what I love, thank you for giving me the opportunity to do it.” Regarding the warm temperatures that greeted runners on race day, “I like the heat, it caught up to me at about mile 45, I said alright, I need to calm down a little bit, get it together. I live in Southern California, so I’m pretty used to it. The aid-stations were amazing, anything you needed they were right there. The best part was when the 100km race was coming up and everyone was just cheering for you – that is why I do it.”

Action continued Saturday, where male and female runners took to the High Country in the 100km, 50km, and 25km races. It was the local favorite, Cole Watson (USA) who finally broke through taking the victory and the Western States Golden Ticket after several attempts in the men’s 100km race with a time of 8:34:38. Adam Merry (USA) finished in a time of 8:50:40 good for second while Justin Grunewald (USA) with a time of 8:53:30 finished third. Ida Nilsson (SWE) was the class of the women’s field and would be crowned the winner of the female 100km with a time of 9:51:07. Priscilla Forgie (CAN) came home in second with a time of 10:00:20 and Aroa Sio (ESP) completed the course in 10:11:43 and finished in third place.

“I got to thank the [Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB] race, the aid stations were stocked, and the people were quick. I live in the area, and I know where a lot of the creeks and stuff like that are, so I utilized those. I know how they had to [change the course] and the gaps where we were going to get warm, and the aid stations were on point. They knew the people running hard up front weren’t going to eat or do well if they didn’t get them cooled down. I just looked forward to the aid stations – I used them all. The Auburn community made that happen for us. This is for Auburn, my family, just praise God man because I’ve had a lot of hard ones, but desire alone doesn’t earn you one of these kind of days, I’ve been waiting seven years for this. I know desire doesn’t earn you one, but I had a lot of it today and there’s been times a lot of quit and I didn’t have any of that today – it was just a different day. I was excited the whole time,” said Cole Watson.

“It was good for a long time, but it got really hot at Foresthill. The course is super nice, I like it a lot, I like this kind of smooth running, never flat, never boring still have fun with rolling hills. This is the nicest time of the year,” said Ida Nilsson.

By the winning the respective age group categories or finishing in the top ten men and women of the 100-mile, 100km or 50km race, 225 runners were offered a unique opportunity to secure direct access to the UTMB World Series Finals.

In addition, The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB®, is a Western States 100 Golden Ticket race and Qualifier for 2024.

Hayden Hawkes (USA) finished first in the men’s 50km in a time of 3:32:11. A relatively newcomer to the trail running scene, Heather Jackson (USA) was the female 50km winner with a time of 4:09:36. In the 25km event, Drew Macomber (USA) ran 1:32:36 while Alexandra Harriss (CAN) in 1:52:45, both besting their competition in the men’s and women’s 25km races.

“It was definitely a fast one, I am training for the Western States now, so I’ve been doing a lot of 100-mile training, so I’m not used to the speed of the 50km. I am getting a bit older too and these young guys are fast. I passed Jeshurun Small (USA) just on the last climb maybe with about three miles to go. I could tell I was climbing a bit stronger than he was, but he was descending faster than me so I kind of let him go on the long descent before the final climb expecting to get him on the up. I was able pass him on the climb and go on to secure the victory, which I feel really good about,” said Hawkes.

“I am glad we started when we did, it is getting hot now – that was good,” said Heather Jackson. “This course was amazing – it is so beautiful out there and for me, it’s super runnable which is good. I was here all week checking out the trail and the town, eating at a bunch of local restaurants.”

All finishers of the Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB collected Running Stones that can be applied to the UTMB Mont-Blanc draw.

Presale for the 2024 Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB taking place on April 26-27, 2024 is now open by visiting https://canyons.utmb.world/.

Next Up for the UTMB® World Series: 

UTMB® World Series is scheduled to continue in 2023 when the series makes its way to Spain for the Transvulcania La Palma Island by UTMB on May 6. To see the full schedule of UTMB® World Series events, visit www.utmb.world.

For more information about the 2023 The Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB visit https://canyons.utmb.world/. For more information about the 2023 UTMB® World Series visit www.utmb.world. Media-related inquiries may be directed to press@ironman.com.


UTMB® World Series

UTMB® World Series is the world’s ultimate trail-running circuit that unites the sport’s biggest stars and passionate runners through the best, leading international events in the most stunning locations.  Built on a passion for the mountains with sustainability at its heart, UTMB® World Series gives all trail runners the chance to experience the UTMB® adventure across the world, with events taking place across Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa and the Americas. It is the only place where runners can begin their quest to UTMB® Mont-Blanc, France, where the prestigious UTMB® World Series Finals will be held. For more information, visit www.utmb.world.

About UTMB Group

Since the creation of UTMB® Mont-Blanc in 2003 by a group of passionate friends, UTMB Group has been the driving force behind the development of trail running. The UTMB® Mont-Blanc is the sports pinnacle event, and every year, 10,000 runners earn their place on the start line. UTMB Group also pioneered the LiveTrail® technology, an innovative digital service that supports the management of endurance races. Revered by hundreds of thousands of athletes, UTMB® has become a global, premium, and leading brand. In May 2021, UTMB Group partnered with The IRONMAN Group to launch the UTMB® World Series, which brings together many of the best international events on the planet to provide exclusive access to the sport’s pinnacle event, UTMB® Mont-Blanc. The UTMB® World Series is built on the founding principles of UTMB® Mont-Blanc: surpassing oneself; fair-play; respect for people and the environment; and solidarity. Find out more at www.utmb.world.       

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