After the painful experience of 2007, I was determined to get more out of the UTMB, this time not injured before I'd even started. I warmed up in good style by walking the Walkers Haute Route with my (then) 7 year old son, Ben. We added half a dozen little peaks and with me carrying all the gear for 13 days and ascending to 3600m, it proved to be very good preparation. After a day hanging around in Chamonix I was ready.
|A future contender?|
I'd anticipated meeting my wife and son before Champex, but they struggled to get there in time on the bus, so I just carried on and met them at Champex. They told me that I wasn't far behind Jez and the place was pretty empty which was a good sign. I made good time over Bovine, passing more runners and was 43rd coming into Trient. I managed okay on the next ascent but then really struggled with my knee again descending and fell behind. I left Vallorcine with a guy from Hong Kong, but just couldn't keep it going on the long ascent up the Aiguilles Rouges. I felt terrible and had to keep stopping. It was so disappointing as I'd kept up the pace so well up until that point. Some runners caught up with me that I'd thought I'd left way behind and hadn't seen for a long, long time, but once up I shuffled along as best I could. I just about managed to keep in touch with the third woman, and although she got away from em, I passed her right at the end. Gary came out to run with me as I reached the fringes of Chamonix and before I knew it I was running up the finish line, Alison in one hand, Ben in the other. It was an emotional moment as the crowds cheered and the lights flashed. I'd lost about an hour and perhaps 18 places at the end, but overall I was pleased. The finish was a real spectacle at 11pm - nothing like the anticlimax of crawling to the line at 7am with no-one around. This time the crowds were in full voice and at last I could stop.