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UTMB heads for Mauritius and raises prize money

This weekend, June 22-23, 2024 the UTMB athletes will meet in Mauritius, to race each on the beautiful beaches and in the tropical mountains in the heart of the Indian Ocean.

Of the 1.000 runners that will toe the startline in Bel Ombre for this first UTMB Mauritius race, almost 20 percent are local runners. Those who are not, are in for a sightseeing tour, says event director Clothilde Lefébure: “The runners will get to truly discover the authentic side of Mauritius through the diversity of landscapes and the welcome, kindness and generosity of the Mauritians – whether that be their hosts, organisers or volunteers.”

Who can beat Curmer and Lesport?

The longest race is the Black River Peak; 135 kilometres, with 5.400 metres of climbing. Gregoire Curmer starts this race as favourite. The French athlete of Team Chamonix Mont Blanc has an UTMB Index score of 852. Last year Curmer finished second in the 100 miles at Ultra-Trail Snowdonia.

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His biggest rival will be Elias Kadi (France), the number 3 of the UTMB TDS of 2022. Camille Ferre, Nicolas Riviere (both France), Tahirinirina Jeannot Avotraniaina (Madagascar) and Noa Ohms (Germany) are outsiders.

In the women’s race Angelique Lesport France is the highest ranked athlete, with a UTMB score of 658. The winner of Le Grand Raid De La Réunion of last year will have to deal with Xueer Shang (China) and Sveta Becker (South-Africa). Yukiko Aida (Japan) is the only other woman starting.

More prize money

UTMB has increased the prize money for the winner of the Majors and for the final; the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. The winner of that last race – in the women’s as men’s category, will get 20.000 euros. “Increasing prize money is of great significance to us, to our sport; it’s our obligation to the communities. We are proud to support athletes, both women and men, in fully embracing their passion and making a livelihood out of it”, said Frédéric Lénart, CEO UTMB Group.

For the new set-up the UTMB Group consulted the Pro Trail Runners Association. Francesco Puppi, board member: “This represents an important step forward in the professionalisation of the sport and the recognition of the elite athletes, for the prestige, quality and value they bring to UTMB World Series events.”

Both ways

Jim Walmsley, the American ultra runner who won UTMB last year, is happy with the increase as well. Yet, points out that’s it also in the interest of UTMB to do it: “An increase at UTMB Finals, as well as UTMB World Series majors, gives a lot of incentive for current professionals to prioritise these races and helps inspire the next generation of runners to pursue a career in trail running.”

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