Sunday, 16 December 2018

UTMB 2019 - How long will it take me?

After two rejections in the ballot, I am finally in UTMB for 2019. I was curious to see what I had left myself in for and how long I would be out there for. Cut off is 46hr 30 and winning time was 20:44.

I have an ITRA ranking of 495 ( ). You can find yours here ( ). An explanation of the rankings are here:

Back when I reverse engineered the ITRA rankings, I predicted a UTMB finish time of 39 hours based on my ranking (it was 489 back then).

I pulled out the rankings for roughly 100 finishers of the 2018 UTMB. I looked at the XL ranking because a) The 2018 UTMB would be included in the XXL ranking so the prediction would be somewhat circular b) I don't have an XXL ranking

Ranking is reasonable predictive but with quite a lot of variance. The ITRA predictions are pretty good but there are quite a few highly ranked runners who finished much slower than predicted. 

My ranking of 495 would put me roughly in the middle of the finishers in roughly 39 hours. A few important notes:

- I have only looked at the men's results as the women use a slightly different system. I'm sure there is an easy conversion
- I have only looked at finishers. I suspect the drop out rate for lower ranked runners is way lower than mid to high ranked (excluding the elite racers). A better athlete having a bad day might finish in a slow time but the lower ranked runner would be timed out.

It would be interesting to do this analysis if I had the data.

Here is the table form of the results. I only sampled 100 or so. I would need a few more to smooth out the volatility (some higher ranked groups have slower time due to small sample size).

Rank Time Position Percentile
650 34:06 325 18%
625 33:46 332 19%
600 34:12 312 18%
575 36:19 431 24%
550 35:24 399 22%
525 37:05 496 28%
500 39:05 669 38%
475 41:58 1,036 58%
450 43:36 1,260 71%
425 45:06 1,497 84%
400 45:33 1,592 90%
375 45:35 1,614 91%


  1. Wery interesting. As you mention, there seems to be a group of runners especially in the 600-700 point range that run much slower than "predicted". Probably many reasons, but could be runnners who qualify based on races with different profile than UTMB (ie. long races with limited climbing) and are not prepared for the almost 10.000 m vertical. Another reason could be that this is a "once in lifetime" experience and many even strong runners prefer to complete rather than compete.

  2. I've got a ITRA ranking of 525 but I DNF'd (missed the cut-off) in 2017 and I put this down to not being able to acclimatise. I arrived in Chamonix only 2 days before the race and didn't spend anytime acclimatising. This ultimately paid the price as going up La Balme to Col du Bonhomme I really struggled and once over the mountain was not able to make up the time I had lost. I'm back again to do it in 2019. Hope to see you there Dave!
    Race report is here:

  3. Some more stats for you Dave:
    UTMB DNFs - All the Stats to Help You Finish