Last updated: 25-Oct-18
Elite British ultra runner, Andy Symonds, has beaten an international field to win UTAT 2015, a 105 km ultra marathon in the Atlas Mountains. He got a time of 13h41 for a convincing victory ahead of Julien Chorier of France with 14h20. Chorer, who has been on great form this year, was widely tipped to win.
UTAT – Ultra Trail D’Atlas Toubkal – is Africa’s first, highest and hardest mountain ultra. Set in Morocco’s high Atlas, it is 105km of sheer mountain madness with a height gain of 6,500 metres. The race is all at altitude, with the departure at 2,620 metres.
Andy said, “14 hours on your feet is always going to be incredibly tough but when the scenery is as magnificent as it is in the Atlas Mountains, the kilometres pass by a lot easier. When you run for a whole day you are bound to have highs and lows. I had a few bad patches, but luckily for me it was mainly a good day for my legs.”
UTAT really marks his comeback after two years of injury. Andy’s results include 6th at the Trail du Ventoux, 2nd at the Trail de la Sainte Victoire, and winner of the Tchimbé Trail.
Since its inauguration in 2009, some of the world’s best mountain and ultra runners have taken part from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and of course, Morocco, but the competition is still a bit of a secret in the UK. Three times winner of the Marathon des Sables, Rachid El Morabity, won the UTAT Atlas Marathon distance 42km with a time of 4.37.44.
Andy explained why he chose the race. “Yes it was hard! It was a choice to do something crazy for a day and see a lot of scenery and I am happy with the choice. In the end, it was a race against the sun, because I don’t put my head torch on.”