With the biggest names in ultra-endurance running descending on France for the World Series Final - the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) - last month, we're delighted to reveal that CurraNZ-powered athletes wrote their share of the headlines.
Of the thousands of runners taking part at the races across the festival, four of our six CurraNZ athletes recorded four top-15 finishes that represented career highlights for these professional athletes.
Christian Meier rises to the top in 145km TDS
Our man Christian Meier (left) secured a magnificent big-race win in the 145km Ultra Mont Blanc TDS (Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie), a race that starts in Courmayeur in Italy and finishes in Chamonix, France.
With 29,855 feet / 9,100m of elevation, this trail, which takes six days on foot, is renowned for its technical difficulty.
Christian ran it in 19 hours 36 minutes, taking the lead after 90km and extending his superiority to take the win from a field of 1,650 competitors.
Christian, a former professional cyclist who turned to ultra-running after it ‘lit his competitive flame again’, is also a CurraNZ stockist at his specialist retail store, Overland Running Provisions, in Spain. The store, based in Girona, is a hub for endurance athletes and is our fantastic new retailer in Spain.
CurraNZ formed a key part of Christian’s career-highlight win at UTMB. He says: “I have been using CurraNZ daily for my training and found it especially helpful on the big training weeks leading up to the event.“I definitely notice improved recovery when putting in big hours in the mountains, which is a necessity to perform at a high level.”
Flying Kiwi Caitlin seals career highlight
Another ambassador, New Zealander Caitlin Fielder, confirmed her meteoric rise in the sport with a stunning fourth in the women’s 50km OCC. This was a new career high for the Salomon athlete, who has earned her place amongst the world’s best 50km runners in just her third year as a professional.
Our new US athlete Robyn Lesh, who recently turned pro, finished 26th in this hot field - her UTMB debut - having posted top-three positions on her European build-up races.
Dan Jones secures brilliant 12th in 100-miler
Kiwi ultra-endurance icon Dan Jones (left) continued his phenomenal year with 12th place in the UTMB 100-miler, having only just finished fifth in the 100-mile ‘Western States’ – the ‘Super Bowl’ of US ultra-running - in late June.
This was only Dan’s second ever attempt at the distance, and he moved through the pack to record a superb finishing position just outside the top ten in 21:55.59, from a field of 1,757 runners.
“This was my first UTMB®. I’ve got mixed emotions, I had some hard times and some absolutely amazing times. I finished strong and, for that, I’m very proud."
Dan relied on CurraNZ for its remarkable recovery powers to recover from the formidable 100-miler in California in June, to take part here on his UTMB debut, a decision that was only taken in July.
Fellow Kiwi Scotty Hawker - another newcomer to CurraNZ who prepared and raced on our brilliant runner's supplement - was just behind Dan in 15th place, finishing in 22:13.58.
Sadly, injuries/illness affected a few of the CurraNZ team set to race, with Ruth Croft and Nancy Jiang pulling out before the race gun fired and Laurel Walker having to withdraw on course due to injury. David Haunschmidt, (above) our emergency doctor from Wellington, tore his hamstring in a snow boarding incident just prior to his race but battled on (and oh so carefully on the descents!) to finish 76th.