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Speedgoat Mountain Races by UTMB to ‘present a unique challenge’ in 2023


The Speedgoat Mountain Races by UTMB takes place this weekend as the UTMB World Series continues. 

The four-race event comes just five weeks before the UTMB World Series Finals at the 2023 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), where Kilian Jornet will attempt to defend his 2022 title. 

First ran in 2008, the 50K race set amongst Utah’s Wasatch Mountains became part of the Skyrunner World Series between 2012 and 2015 – but it is now part of the UTMB’s flagship series.

50K main event

Speedgoat Mountain Races by UTMB will feature a 50K and two 20K races, as well as a 10K which does not offer any Running Stones. 

The 50K has nearly 3500m of elevation gain across its 31 miles and is the main event of the weekend.

A runner on the speedgoat mountain races by utmb course
[Photo credit: UTMB / Emily Tidwell]

American runners Jim Walmsley and Hayden Hawks have both won the race, as has New Zealander Anna Frost. 

In 2012, Kilian Jornet – who has now qualified for the 2023 UTMB – won the first edition of Speedgoat when it was part of the Skyrunner World Series. The win was seen as controversial at the time, as Jornet had cut several switchbacks which went against the rules. Whilst he was allowed to keep his win, the prize money and course record went to runner-up Rickey Gates instead. 

The race was dropped from the Skyrunner World Series in 2015, and in 2022, it became part of the UTMB World Series and now offers competitors Running Stones for the traditional 50K and two 20K category races. 

A shorter 21km race has 1300m of elevation gain, while a 28km event has 1920m of elevation gain. A 10k will also take place, with 502m of elevation gain, with 1,356 runners in total taking part across the weekend’s actions. 

The 50K will have a new start and finish line in 2023, with the Snowbird Ski Resort providing the background.

“Mental nightmare”

“It’s not the race for the first timer,” Speedgoat Race Director Karl Meltzer said, “Not only is it a physically demanding course at altitude, but it is also a mental nightmare as the race gets tougher the further runners get into it. 

“This year’s event will also present a unique challenge with a lot of snow on the course.  

“No areas will present difficult or dangerous situations, but it makes it more fun, and I am looking forward to hearing stories of cold snowslides.  

“We hope our runners enjoy the event and take in all the views that the Wasatch Mountains provide.”

Elites look to secure UTMB spot 

With the UTMB World Series Finals just around the corner, Speedgoat Mountain Races by UTMB offers a vital opportunity for those who have not already to book their spot in Chamonix, as well as offering vital practice for those who have already guaranteed their place. 

A trio of US runners in Willie Milam, Jared Hazen and Adrian MacDonald lead the way in the UTMB index rankings for the men’s field.  

Hazen has most recently featured in the Transvulcania La Palma Island by UTMB Ultra, where he came 17th, and he was sixth in the 50K at Speedgoat in 2021. 

Adrian MacDonald on course in the Snowy Mountains at Speedgoat by UTMB
Adrian MacDonald in the Snowy Mountains [Photo credit: Tim Bardsley-Smith / UTMB]

MacDonald, meanwhile, has already secured his spot in Chamonix; last year he won the Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB Kosci Miler. 

In the women’s race, defending champion Addie Bracy is the leading contender to take the win and defend her crown ahead of an attempt at the UTMB CCC next month. 

Bracy will renew her rivalry with Jennifer Lichter, who was leading the race last year until she took a wrong turn, while she will also be at the UTMB World Series finals to compete in the OCC race.