The UTMB is one of the top ultramarathons in the world, and the 2017 edition was competitive. Salomon athlete Francois d’Haene topped a star-studded field of ultra athletes. This is the kit he used to win.
What’s it take to win the UTMB ultramarathon? Well, mostly a huge amount of training and talent. But beyond that, a few pieces of key gear come into play.
We spoke with this year’s champion, French runner Francois d’Haene, to learn what helped him overcome a grueling race in atrocious weather.
He finished the 166-kilometer mountain race through snow, rain, and fog in 19 hours and 1 minute.
Salomon Runner’s Dream Kit
As an elite, d’Haene is one of Salomon’s sponsored athletes. He works in association with the Salomon design team to develop products specific to his individual needs. His UTMB kit contained prototypes based on these products, some of which aren’t even available to normal human beings like you and I (yet).
He mostly uses sponsors’ gear. But for him, the gear must be the cream of the crop. They are great products for ultramarathons and shorter trail races near home.
Francois d’Haene: 2017 UTMB Winner’s Gear
• Salomon S/LAB Sense Tee: “I want to feel free, light, with a shirt that will let me breathe.”
• Salomon S/LAB Modular Shorts (long version + EXO underwear): “I like the long version also for the style, which covers my EXO underwear. Again, the shape is made to not feel any discomfort.”
• Custom Quiver Pole Storage System: “When I don’t use the poles, I want to forget them, to not feel them anywhere. The quiver is above the bag, and I can stretch it. It’s just the perfect weapon.”
• Salomon S/LAB Backpack (Eight liters) and Two 500 milliliter Flasks: “Perfect vest pack to avoid any shuffle. It’s eight liters, but it’s extensible—so easy to use.”
• Cebe S’track Sunglasses: “Along an ultra, you are facing a lot of [different] lights, and my sunglasses are very important to protect me, but also, sometimes to put me in my bubble.”
• Salomon S/LAB EXO Calf: “I like using EXO because I feel secure in it. It’s like an extra support that will allow me to go further with less pain.”
• S/LAB Sense Socks: “I didn’t change my socks or my shoes during the UTMB. And I didn’t get any blisters.”
• Black Diamond Distace Carbon FLZ Trekking Poles – Lightweight carbon and foldability make these poles a top choice for endurance athletes. d’Haene did not provide explicit feedback on these poles.
• S/LAB Sense Ultra2 shoes – “I spent a lot of time to develop these shoes. I’m very happy with the result. It was important for me to finish 100 miles with the same shoes, without pain. Goal done.” Note: These aren’t available yet.
• Bonatti Jacket – “This waterproof jacket is also very light and packable.
I used it almost all night; it helped me to stay warm during all the conditions we’ve been through.”
• Suunto Spartan Ultra – “A perfect tool to manage my race, trying to follow my time plan, and finally [not] run too fast!”
• Silva Trail Speed 2XT Headlamp – “Well, it’s already many years that I’m running with the same light because I have confidence in it.”