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May 11, 2023

Doug Mayer | The Inside Story of UTMB

Doug Mayer | The Inside Story of UTMB
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Doug Mayer is an author, journalist and founder of the trail running tour company, Run the Alps and past producer of the NPR show Car Talk. Doug lives in Chamonix, France, has run the UTMB race twice, and recently wrote a book titled “The Race The Changed Running: The Inside Story of UTMB".

In this conversation, we discuss the nature of soul sports, the founding story of the UTMB, the background and ambitions of the Polettis, common criticisms about the race, the power it has over athletes, operators, and other organizations in our world, and whether there is such a thing as a “trail running industrial complex”.


  • (1:08) - trail running is a soul sport
  • (9:05) - man in the arena quote, UTMB origin story
  • (19:04) - background of the Polettis
  • (33:01) - Mike Ambrose story, influence of content
  • (43:21) - the jump of UTMB and the Polettis to international influence
  • (52:35) - financial misunderstandings about UTMB and the Polettis
  • (59:30) - Ironman partnership
  • (66:59) - concerns about monopolization, etc
  • (82:11) - the real or imagine power of UTMB over pro athletes
  • (94:29) - feasibility of being a global and local event



Additional Episodes You May Enjoy:

  • #210 - Catherine and Michel Poletti | UTMB World Series, Ironman Partnership, Future of Trail Running
  • #183 - Caleb Efta - High Lonesome 100 | UTMB Policy, Trail Running Values, Grassroots Races
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