Before looking ahead to 2023, American ultra-running star Jim Walmsley reflected on his fourth place finish at the 2022 UTMB in the most recent iteration of the Wahoo series that is following his journey to become the first US male winner of the race.
In part three of the mini-series, Walmsley talks about the disappointment of fading to fourth after leading for so long, the lessons he learnt and how he plans on navigating the race this summer.
‘The last 50k is what I needed to grow’
Having led the field for the majority of the race, Walmsley was eventually passed in the latter stages by Kilian Jornet, Mathieu Blanchard and Tom Evans as he faded to a fourth place finish in a time of 21:12:12.
The 32-year-old, whose fourth place finish was his best so far at the event, shared that “in the last five to six hours of the event I probably did a year’s worth of thinking”. Whilst the race “isn’t what I hoped it would be”, Walmsley believes that “the last 50k is what I needed to grow as an ultra-athlete”.
Whilst admitting that “the dig”, where he broke away from Jornet early on, eventually “killed me”, Walmsley also took some positives. He reflected that “through the night and through the cold my preparation was so good”, which will stand him in fine stead for this year’s event.
Looking forward to 2023, Walmsley hypothesised that more races before the event may be required, as he believes race effort and intensity is “not a part of yourself that you’re going to find out in training”.
And looking ahead to the upcoming season he added: “One of my ideas to get better is to try some races or FKT’s to try and stretch my elasticity of endurance and perseverance and grit [which will make] UTMB more manageable than it once was.”
As the countdown begins for the 2023 UTMB this August, all eyes in the trail running world are once again on Jim Walmsley. Over the upcoming weeks we will be releasing a series of articles with him, detailing his winter training, preparation for this year’s event and thoughts on his chances of finally taking the win.