Meet the solidarity runners

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This year, 140 runners choose to participate in the World Summit of Trail Running as solidarity runners. They are between 26 and 62 and 57% of them are international runners with among them, a majority of Europeans, Americans and Asians. These men and women are training for the race of their dream, which is not only the UTMB®, since 53% are registered on the TDS®, the CCC® or the OCC. One thing is certain, everyone wants to give extra meaning to their challenge by getting involved with one of the 12 associations supported by the event. A strong and engaging choice that inevitably changes the way they approach their race and their preparation. For the release of our film dedicated to solidarity, we went to meet these solidarity runners.

Brittmarie and Mattias - Sweden

  • Age: 36 and 44
  • City: Stockholm
  • Job: property developer and CEO
  • Passions (other than trail running): skiing, kayaking, climbing, sailing, mountain biking
  • Favorite season: summer
  • Favorite song while running: “Whatever it takes”. Imagine Dragons
  • Favorite dish after a workout: a nice piece of bloody meat and some red wine
  • Two athletes who inspires them: Ingmar Stenmark and Yvon Chouinard
  • The adjective that defines them best: Mattias: persistent ; Brittmarie: planner

You decided to support Plan International with two solidarity bibs, then you chose to do fundraising for the association. Why ?
It certainly was a challenge when we decided to start collecting points required for CCC®, but the challenge was only something for ourselves and we were doing that because it’s fun. When you run long-distance you have this “ups and downs” and when it feels like it’s really hard to run and the only thing you want to do is to lay down, it’s good to remember that we choose to do this for fun. For CCC®, we decided that we will try to make our challenge a possibility for someone else. We managed to collect almost 7,000 euros to Plan International and we also hope and plan that our charity will go on until we have finished the race. 

For your fundraising, you have involved Swedish companies, it's a great responsibility for you.
Absolutely! It’s a fantastic feeling to do something that really matters to others. It gives you power and we also feel a responsibility that we have to do this seriously because it can really make big difference. It’s not every day you can tell companies about your plan to run a competition and ask them for their support by donate money to charity and they are willing to do it. We are very clear with the fact that all money that will be donated will go straight to Plan International and not to us. We raise money for the possibility to start and run education for young ladies in the Himalayas, but we do believe that everything that Plan International do is good.

Nicki - Germany

  • Age: 26
  • City: Essen
  • Job: investment banker and entrepreneur
  • Passions (other than trail running): skiing, travelling, cooking
  • Favorite season: no preference
  • Favorite song while running: the sound of nature or the city
  • Favorite dish after a workout: a homemade smoothie
  • Two athletes who inspires him: Jan Frodeno and Ryan Sandes
  • The adjective that defines him best: passionate

This year, runners had the opportunity to take a solidarity bib even before the opening of registrations (note: from November 8 to December 1, 2017). Why did you decided to do so?
Our world is faced with such tragedy on multiple levels, while we are incredibly fortunate to be able to run, let alone live the life the way we do. Running, more often than not, is perceived to be an individual sport. However, by supporting a social cause, I feel it lends the sport a team spirit. I want to use my undertakings as an outlet to mobilize people and to open their eyes to the world’s important issues. I have previously raised money for the European refuge crisis in 2015 and since 2017 I have been running in the name of Oceanic Global to protect our oceans.

You have chosen to support an association based in Chamonix that helps people fighting cancer. Can you tell us a bit more about this choice?
I chose to run for A Chacun Son Everest, since it is closely linked to Chamonix, as well as to my challenge. A Chacun Son Everest builds a symbolic parallel between the difficulty of ascending the highest summit of our planet and that of the path to overcoming cancer, as well as to my minority by circumnavigating around Mont-Blanc. Cancer often leads to a loss of confidence in one's physical abilities, which is exactly what A Chacun Son Everest tries to prevent and bring back. Similar to the ascent of Mount Everest, or me running around Mont-Blanc, it requires patience and determination, courage and will.

David - United States

  • Age: 39
  • City: Denver
  • Job: new home sales
  • Passions (other than trail running): taking care of his loved ones
  • Favorite season:  spring and summer
  • Favorite song while running: LL Cool J’s “Momma Said Knock You Out" 
  • Favorite dish after a workout: fat, juicy burger
  • Two athletes who inspires him: Kilian Jornet and his girlfriend, Desiree Marek
  • The adjective that defines him best: determined

Choosing to run with a solidarity bib is not a trivial gesture, for many runners it's a meaningful experience. What is the story behind this choice?
After watching the UTMB® stream live for several years the seed was planted and I wanted to be a part of this incredible event. I figured it would also be an epic way to celebrate my 40th birthday. I was a runner, but had not yet attempted my first ultra. The journey to qualify for the UTMB® was exciting.  I managed to persevere and earn the 15 required points. Then through friends I heard about the solidarity bib opportunity that offered the opportunity to  support an extraordinary cause. I researched it in more detail and decided that making the donation for a solidarity bib was the perfect parallel to running a larger than life race while supporting a cause that is bigger than any of us.

Why did you choose to support Soutien Orphelinat Pagala?
I spent summer after summer and even a couple winter breaks as a youth camp counselor. I was drawn back for so many years by the awe inspiring campers who came from a variety of situations ranging from upscale neighborhoods to homeless shelters.  At camp they came together to laugh, play, make friends, and be kids. It felt only natural to select Orphelinat Pagala solidarity option that supported youth - their education, their health, and most of all makes them feel loved. It’s inspiring during the lows of an endurance race.

Yann de Seréville's, chairman of the solidarity committee, message:

Solidarity is an important part of the UTMB® DNA. In 2018, 140 solidarity runners have increased the price of their registration to the benefit of an association. It shows the necessity of sharing to live fully, completely and intensely their feat. With their solidarity bib, many runners show a renewed energy during the lows of their race. For us, there is no doubt that solidarity is one of the key to success.

Discover the 12 associations supported by the event

Tags : #solidarity

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