In the months and weeks leading up to the 2017 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), this 103-mile race was billed as potentially the most competitive men’s race in the history of ultra-marathons. The course loop around the Mont Blanc Massif from Chamonix and into Italy and Switzerland is a setting unlike any other in the world, and this year’s race attracted what was considered by many to be the deepest, most talented field in history. Despite that buildup, somehow, on this first weekend in September, the race lived up to the hype. After more than 19 mostly chilly, rainy, slippery hours, Salomon athlete Francois D’haene was up to the task on his home soil, besting teammate Kilian Jornet to win his third UTMB title. D’haene finished in a remarkable 19:01:32, 15 minutes and 6 seconds ahead of the nearly-unbeatable Catalan.
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