Tuesday, September 13, 2022
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A detailed friendship helps two of Canada’s greatest path runners

For the primary time within the historical past of UTMB, not one however two Canadian path runners discovered themselves on the rostrum in Chamonix. The French-born, Montreal-based ultra-trail runner, Mathieu Blanchard, proved to the path neighborhood that he is among the greatest on the earth, ending second on the 170 km course in 19 hours and 54 minutes–5 minutes behind UTMB champion Kilian Jornet.

Mathieu Blanchard UTMB
Mathieu Blanchard grew to become the second runner to ever break the 20-hour barrier at UTMB. Photograph: Jordi Saragossa

“I actually felt the strain was on after reaching the rostrum final 12 months,” says Blanchard. “This 12 months, I wished to ship.”

Final 12 months, heading into the race, Blanchard was on the skin trying in, however discovered himself in rivalry for third with lower than 30 km to go. Blanchard accomplished the French sweep of the rostrum in 2021, then got here again and exceeded his earlier efficiency (as a brand new Canadian).

One of the crucial vital issues Blanchard modified in his coaching this 12 months was spending extra time within the mountains. He spent eight weeks within the French Alps along with his Salomon group earlier than arriving in Chamonix. One in all his teammates and coaching companions was second-place finisher Marianne Hogan from Montreal.

However Hogan’s and Blanchard’s friendship goes again a number of years. The 2 first met at a Salomon path working academy in Moab, Utah, in 2017. “[Salomon] was seeking to sponsor some up and upcoming racers within the path scene,” says Blanchard. “There have been seven males and 7 ladies competing–and Marianne and I each received. It was ironic we each lived in Montreal on the time.

Montreal’s Mathieu Blanchard and Marianne Hogan on the 2017 TransAlpine Run in Germany. Photograph: Philipp Reiter.

“Once we started working collectively, I used to be shocked to see how robust she is,” says Blanchard. “She’s the best coaching associate: all the time in a very good temper, and works extraordinarily exhausting.”

Hogan had a breakout season, changing into solely the third girl ever to podium at each Western States and UTMB in the identical 12 months.

“For my part, Marianne is the strongest feminine ultra-trail runner on the earth,” says Blanchard. “To date, her skilled profession has been plagued with accidents, and he or she hasn’t been in a position to show herself on the circuit.”

Marianne Hogan UTMB
Marianne Hogan ran the ultimate 45 kilometres of UTMB with a torn psoas. Photograph: Jordi Saragossa

In an interview, Hogan accredited her success at UTMB to Blanchard: “Mathieu and I did a Salomon coaching camp in August collectively referred to as Au Tour du Mont Blanc. Mathieu confirmed me the place to make use of poles, the place to make use of diet, the place to push and when to preserve power.”

“The UTMB course is a puzzle, and it’s worthwhile to discover the answer,” says Blanchard. “At camp, we practised visualization techniques to organize our minds to know precisely what to do in every a part of the race.”

Marianne Hogan UTMB
In her first UTMB, Marianne Hogan grew to become the primary Canadian girl to succeed in the rostrum. Photograph: Jordi Saragossa

Hogan grew to become the primary Canadian-born path runner to succeed in the rostrum at UTMB, ending second behind Katie Schide in 24:31:22. Hogan, who has solely been working trails since 2016, referred to as her second-place end “a second [she] dreamed about for the complete race.”

“I’m so joyful for her success, she deserves it,” says Blanchard. “Mark my phrases once I say, her greatest is but to come back!”

Hogan and Blanchard have each returned to Montreal and are having fun with some downtime earlier than ramping again up within the new 12 months. Hogan hopes to return to each Western States and UTMB, whereas Blanchard “hasn’t even considered it but,” however confirms he’s not finished but.



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