The Trail Running Film Festival - Back on Tour for 2024.

The Trail Running Film Festival - Back on Tour for 2024.

In an interview conducted by Antoine Belhassen for FranceInfo UTMB responds:

(All content auto translated via my Safari translation tool!)

Catherine Poletti on Zach and Kilian’s private email:

We learned this news from friends and a trail coach, living in Chamonix, who was moved by the subject of this letter.

… we regret that they did not call us directly to tell us what was wrong. We could have answered them directly rather than spreading it in the public square. (…) We were a little disappointed that they react in this way.

The fact that this email was circulated without any clear accusations, but just with the “something is off” and we decide to talk amongst ourselves rather than using our connections to actually talk to the people we accuse, or have issues with goes to show that even elites are just people and sometimes make dumb decisions.

Isabelle Viseux-Poletti:

We have a meeting planned with the PTRA [Pro Trail Runners Association, created on the initiative of Kilian Jornet] and other runners like Zach.

This meeting apparently happened yesterday (the article was published on the 22nd of this month) and Kilian already posted a length reply on Instagram, which I will get to later.

Catherine Poletti on Whistler:

There was a disagreement about the Whistler Alpine Meadows race [one of the new events of the UTMB International Circuit taking place in Canada, at the same locations as a former race organized by Gary Robbins, a famous local trail runner, editor’s note].

But what they don’t know is that we have very cordial exchanges with Gary. At some point, before starting the anathema, you need to know what really happened. You cannot judge without knowing all the facts. It is possible that we have made communication mistakes. We apologized directly to Gary, without going through the public square.

What would really help here is for Gary to come out and acknowledge that apology. Was it good enough? Did it address the issue? But I guess if he doesn’t say anything that says something too.

Catherine on the ownership issue:

In addition, there is another big misunderstanding and ignorance of the facts: many think that we were redeemed by Ironman. This is not correct. We didn’t sell anything. Ironman is a partner in the UTMB Group and is a minority partner. The Poletti family is still in the majority.

Thank you for stating this so clearly. I’ve been trying to hammer this for months now and folks just like the narrative of Ironman coming in and flattening everything. It’s just not how it went. Come on people, adjust your radars.

Catherine on elites not being respected:

 Yes, it saddened us. Especially since it’s false. I think respect must go both ways. We respect people who respect us and vice versa. Today, throwing the anathema on social networks by saying that we do not respect them is not really respecting us either.

Good for her for firing back in this instance, as the email that was made public shows exactly that, a lack of respect.

On the perception that UTMB races are expensive:

No one is obliged, with a gun pointed at the temple, to come and participate in our races. People who want to come have made a choice.

Yes, compared to many European races the entry fee to UTMB can feel steep, but compared to race entry fees in North America they are downright affordable – for now.

Catherine and Isabelle also address the Dacia controversy and Catherine invites folks to run the races they want to run:

The number of races and events organized all over the world allows runners to make their own choice. They can go wherever they want: the trail running community does not belong to anyone.

There will be winners, whatever happens, at the next edition of the UTMB. We will continue to make choices. We know that these choices will not always be appreciated by everyone, but we will try to make them as fair as possible. No one is perfect.

And finally on the effectiveness of the boycott:

Their words are only binding on them. We already have 60 elites registered on our races. So I don’t know if their words will be followed. But, above all, we regret that they are doing it for the wrong reasons, when we have not even been able to communicate with them.

As I mentioned above. If you’re an elite, and you want to be treated like an elite, then you also need to use your clout and talk to the people directly. You know them.