There are champions like that, whose jinx and relentlessness resonate with us. Admittedly, bad luck is a strong word to describe Jim Walmsley’s career in UTMB country: four participations (5th in 2017, D.N.F. in 2018 and 2021, 4th in 2022) in one of the world’s toughest events, a race management style that has often been maliciously mocked for its trial and error and gastric reflux, and a sport based on experience and detail. But Jim is still Jim.
For the average person, his divine stride, celestial times and rare bird-like mastery “promised” him his UTMB one day. Some said the American was obsessing over his pace, while friend D’Haene urged him to refocus on his own pace, ease off the pace and, above all, take care of himself during the race. Jim and the dawn, Jim and the cold, it never stuck, and the demon began his mental jig. “You’re going to miss, son. That stomach threatening, can
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