By James Rogers
Rory Bosio won her second consecutive The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc on Saturday, crossing the finish line in 23 hours, 23 minutes, 20 seconds.
Yes, 23 hours. Welcome to ultrarunning, and welcome to the UTMB.
The UTMB is a 104-mile race that begins and ends in Chamonix, France. It is arguably the toughest ultramarathon in the world, and the competition is nothing to overlook, either.
So when Bosio—a 30-year-old pediatric intensive care nurse from California—takes two straight at UTMB, I pay attention. A United States citizen traveling to France and winning the hearts of avid European ultrarunning fans is newsworthy. And when the victor competes for the pure joy of running, it’s even sweeter.
Bosio is sponsored by The North Face, but Salomon Running still showed some respect.
I first started paying attention to Bosio after reading this iRunFar interview posted on April 1, 2013 by Robbie Lawless. I should also note that I really started following ultrarunning in early 2013, so I had to catch up on some of Bosio’s previous accomplishments.
Bosio raced the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run four straight years from 2010-13. Many will tell you Western States is the most prestigious ultramarathon in the United States, and one of the best in the world.
Here’s how Bosio fared at Western States in that four-year span:
- 2010: 4th woman, 27th overall (19 hours, 32 minutes, 7 seconds)
- 2011: 5th woman, 25th overall (18:37:17)
- 2012: 2nd woman, 21st overall (18:08:06)
- 2013: 5th woman, 22nd overall (19:52:09)
Pretty darn good. She also posted a fourth-place UTMB finish in 2012 and a win in 2013. More recently, she smashed the course record at the 2014 The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail, a 119-kilometer race in Italy.
As for UTMB next year, Bosio said she’ll likely not enter, but she hopes to focus on the brutal Hardrock 100 in the U.S., per Bryon Powell of iRunFar.
Going back to the aforementioned iRunFar interview from 2013—my informative introduction to Bosio—I instantly became a fan due to her upbeat and entertaining responses. More importantly, she gave off an unparalleled passion for running and its beautiful simplicity.
Since then, I’ve done my best to keep up with Bosio’s adventures, and in light of her second victory at UTMB, I’ve gathered together quotes from interviews that will help you better understand who Bosio is as not just a runner, but as a human being. Enjoy.
Per Allison Pattillo of Competitor.com:
“My first race was the Silver State 50K — I loved it! But then I went back to nursing school and didn’t have much time to run. In 2010, the GU team offered me a slot for Western States and I decided I had to try it. I’ve run it every year since! 100-milers are definitely my favorite distance. I’m not super-speedy. It takes me a while to get going and I like the slow burn of a long race.”
“I’ve done yoga since high school and think it is a great balance to running, for all runners. Running can be jarring and hard on your joints. Yoga is the exact opposite. It uses your entire body and is good for arm and core strength. I think it helps me mentally and also helps my running. I like all kinds of yoga, but am still not good at it — It’s definitely a challenge for me!”
From the Guardian‘s Kate Carter:
“Running is all about the scenery for me. I refuse to run indoors or on a treadmill because, mentally, I find it exhausting. I do not have the fortitude to run just for the sake of running. I like to use running as a way to escape from everyday life or to see a new place.”
“I don’t keep a training log or follow a plan. I train based on my intuition and what my body needs. Sometimes this means doing structured interval workouts. More often it means putting my pack on and exploring the mountains all day at a leisurely pace.”
“I prefer to keep it as simple as possible. I don’t even wear a watch. The only gear I need is my pack, a hat, sunglasses & shoes.”
Per Brian Metzler of Competitor:
After enduring a few rain showers, 13 mountain passes and 31,000 feet of climbing and descending over 104 miles in 23 hours, 20 minutes and 20 seconds of running, the 30-year-old pediatric intensive care nurse from Truckee, Calif., was her typical smiling self and ready to go dancing.
“That’s the best way to get the lactic acid out of your legs,” Bosio said with a playful smile after finishing the race through the spectactor-lined streets of Chamonix. “I’ll definitely go dancing, but not until I get a shower and a nap.”
From Lawless of iRunFar:
“Adverse weather definitely makes for a more memorable experience, so even though it might not be ideal at the time, usually people look back on these races fondly. Or after a few drinks at the bar, either way. I always tell myself that there is a finish line, an end to the drudgery. It’s not like the Oregon Trail or the Donner Party, to throw out some arcane references, where the suffering was unending.”
“My days of fierce competitiveness ended when I couldn’t beat my mom at Candyland. Turns out she was cheating. Nonetheless, I’m probably average. I like doing well (Who doesn’t?) and I don’t like to lose, but it doesn’t really bother me either. I have a horrible memory when it comes to racing, so I can move on quickly after a crappy result.”
Per Powell of iRunFar:
“I love UTMB. I do not think I will be back next year. I just need something different. For me it’s good to have the element of surprise and a new challenge. There are so many races that I would like to do.”
Bosio’s next race will be The North Face Endurance Challenge held in Park City, Utah, on October 4-5.
I advise you pay attention.