UTMB week is here. As thousands of trail runners from around the globe descend on the world's mountain sports mecca, Chamonix, it can be hard to know who to watch out for. But don't worry - this year, there is some promising athlete talent representing SunGod on the Chamonix trails. Here are some of our favourites...
From Cornish ultrarunners to Colorado's iconic Courtney Dauwalter, months of preparation and commitment are now coming to a head for these dedicated athletes. Scroll to meet the Team SunGod trail runners stepping up to the mark in this year's UTMB races.
1. Julia Davis
Ultrarunner Julia, who trains on the Cornish coastline, has already raced for Team GB at the Trail World Championships earlier this year. Now, she's gearing up to add the highly technical TDS race to her list of successes.
"I like to think I am both eternally positive and strong-willed, so if I want to achieve something it’s going to take something major to stop me. Running for the GB team this year at the Trail World Championships was just a dream come true. It was a race so far out of my wheelhouse but I have never been so proud to finish!"
"Now, I'm facing my first UTMB race, and all I’ve heard is how epic it is. I’ve never run on the TDS route before so it’s all going to be a brilliant adventure. This is my year of learning more about mountain running and going long - I’ve never raced further than 80km, so it's a big old stretch to add 65km to that! I’ve been cramming in the vert, learning to use poles and figuring out how to ease in on the effort to go the distance."
Julia will be taking on the TDS in her Ultras™ trail running sunglasses. "They're my favourite running sunnies for sure. I barely notice them on my face, no sweaty steaming situations, and no readjustments needed."
2. Harry Jones
British ultrarunner and running coach Harry has raced the 100km CCC twice before. Will it be third time lucky in 2023?
"Having raced CCC twice before and experienced what both a good day (8th) and a bad day (23rd) can feel like, I like to think I’ve got good course experience and I know how to get the most out of myself on race day. Being one of the most competitive races on some of the world's best trails makes it an easy decision to return to UTMB and race the CCC this year."
"The races that go well are easy to look back on with fond memories, but my proudest achievements have to be the races when things don’t go to plan, but you keep on putting one foot in front of the other and make it the finish line. This year's World Championships has to be one of my proudest finishes. It was a BAD day for me but I kept on to the finish line. I’ve since been dedicating more time than ever to building my weaknesses into strengths."
Like Julia, Harry will also be racing the CCC in his Ultras™. "I’ll be racing in the Ultras™ with 8KO® Silver Blue lenses. They work best for me on bright days on alpine trails."
3. Ruth Croft
The UTMB is scary - there's no question about that. But Kiwi ultrarunner Ruth leaves no stone unturned as she makes her way to the start line.
"I believe that without a really clearly defined "why", running 100 miles is borderline stupid. Last year my "why" for Western States was for me and my crew to have a fun time making our way from Olympic Valley to Auburn. My proudest achievement would be having my crew dress up in blow-up dinosaurs and chase me around the Auburn Track at WSER last year..."
"So, why am I racing the UTMB this year? Because I'm at that point in my running career where it's really important for me to do events that challenge, scare, and excite me. And UTMB does all of that."
"I always do my homework and leave no stone unturned so I'll be showing up to the start as prepared as one can be for 100 miles. To prepare for the UTMB, I've been working on embracing hiking, poles and eating lots of snacks, because that's essentially UTMB in a nutshell."
Ruth will be racing in her SunGod Classics³ - "Because just like classic cars never go out of fashion, neither do they..."
** Team SunGod Update: Unfortunately Ruth has had to pull out last minute due to illness. We wish her all the best for a speedy recovery! **
4. Tom Evans
Since taking 3rd place at last year's UTMB, Tom has been a force to be reckoned with. He took 1st place in this year's Western States and has his eyes on the double as he approaches the UTMB.
Since returning from injury, Tom has been in the form of his life and has dedicated a summer to hard training. He's been putting in the miles in both heat and altitude to get himself in the best possible condition for the UTMB. "The Western States 100 / UTMB double is something that has always interested me. It wasn’t on my original plan but things have to change with how you’re feeling! And now… I can’t wait for the challenge!"
Known for his precise and dedicated approach, Tom's running style is summed up in his mantra: Endure + Compete. "No matter the challenge, we are all one tribe. We must endure the tough times and compete to become the best versions of ourselves."
Tom will be putting his mantra into practice at the UTMB, where he will race in his custom Tom Evans Signature Series Ultras™ . "I've spent countless hours trying and testing out different options, and the 8KO® lenses in the SunGod Ultras™ are unlike anything else I've tried."
5. Courtney Dauwalter
Courtney needs no introduction. The world's best female ultrarunner, Courtney is looking to achieve the ultimate trifecta after taking the crown in both Western States and Hardrock 100 this summer.
Courtney is on fire right now. She didn't just leave her competition in the dust at Western States and Hardrock 100 this summer; she set a new course record in each. The eyes of the trail running world will be on her this week as she takes on the most prestigious race in the game.
"I have no idea how this will go, or what I’ll be able to squeeze out of my body & brain in one more 100 mile race this summer, but that makes it even more interesting to try! Mont Blanc, here we come!"
Courtney has become iconic on the trails for her signature green-lensed Classics³, so expect to see those! "The 8KO® lenses are great for any terrain and all conditions - I won't be on the UTMB course without them." She'll also be repping her new prescription sunglasses if she decides to swap her contacts out mid-race.
Podium-topping athletes armed with award-winning eyewear.
The UTMB is the pinnacle of ultrarunning for a reason. The terrain is gruelling, the weather is extreme and the competition is tough. Good luck to all of Team SunGod who are competing at this year's races - we're behind you every step of the way.
Fancy following in the footsteps of Courtney Dawuwalter, Tom Evans and other world-class trail runners? Check out our trail running sunglasses and discover how high-quality eyewear can enhance your performance.