Brian McArthur at the finish line of the UTMB Race in Europe earlier this month. (Contributed photo)

WATCH: Red Deer man runs once in a lifetime European ultra-marathon

Red Deer’s Brian McArthur ran up mountains and through villages in France, Italy and Switzerland while competing in a 170-km ultra-marathon.

The 45-year-old finished 161st overall and third among Canadians in the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), which started on Sept. 1 in France.

“It’s a race that is sometimes a once in a life time opportunity,” he said. “It’s such a wonderfully organized event – I was really impressed. It was unbelievable.”

It took McArthur 31 hours, eight minutes and 21 seconds to finish the trek around Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps.

“I’m really proud of how I did,” he said. “My legs started to really cramp up and get tired after the first 80K. Running uphill was fine, but running downhill was really painful.”

Runners had 46.5 hours to finish the race.

McArthur said his goal was to finish in 30 hours, but considering there was rain and snow throughout the run, he was satisfied with his time.

Dealing with those conditions was challenging, McArthur said. The route was slightly altered due to the weather, as organizers didn’t want anyone to get hurt from slipping on the snow and rain.

Of the 2,600 competitors from around the world, 850 did not finish.

To get into the race, runners had to gather enough points from performances in other 70-mile and 100-mile races. If the runner had enough points, they were entered into a lottery where they had the chance to compete in the UTMB.

First-time applicants only have a 20 per cent chance to enter the race. But despite the low odds, McArthur entered the race as a first-time applicant.

“I was totally stoked,” he said. “I had travelled to Quebec to do a race so I could gather enough points to apply, so when I got in I was really pleased.”

When he heard he was able to compete, McArthur’s training began.

“I would run five or six days a week – at my peak I was probably running 150K a week to prepare,” he said.

McArthur also took several trips to Canmore to train in similar mountain conditions as the ultra. The UTMB brought runners to altitudes higher than 2,500 metres.

“Even at the top of the mountain passes, there were spectators and hikers cheering you on,” he said.

A week before the race McArthur and his wife, Dawn Detarando, spent time with friends in Switzerland to get used to the altitude and to avoid jet lag.

Full results from the race can be found at


Brian McArthur, facing the camera to the left, was one of thousands competing in the UTMB Race. He finished in 31 hours and eight minutes. (Contributed photo)

Just Posted

Christmas season in Red Deer begins with Festival of Trees

The kickoff to the Christmas season in Red Deer is upon us.… Continue reading

Judge allows Mr. Big evidence in murder trial

Two men accused of triple-murder admitted their involvement to undercover police

Red Deer agency supporting for LGBTQ2S+ youth

New report on LGBTQ2S+ youth from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate

Four people arrested after gas and dash

Four people were arrested after an alleged gas and dash in two… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month