Renault Group

UTMB Mont-Blanc: going ultra with Alexandre ‘Green Cap’ Boucheix

5 September 2022

Chamonix, August 26th, 2022. The base line of Vangelis’ legendary Conquest of Paradise rings out through the renowned French township, marking the start of a race between 2,500 trail runners as they take off for the UTMB ultra trail race through the Mont Blanc mountains. 171 km, 10,000 metres of total climb, and one finish line in the sights of the amateur runners and the best trail runners the world has to offer. Watching from behind the barricades are families, friends, spectators, organisers, and assistants. Emotions are running high. During this legendary race, the runners experienced unique sensations, moments of freedom, they embarked on an extraordinary adventure, whose sole objective is to push their own boundaries. Alexandre ‘Green Cap’ Boucheix, a runner like no other, takes us on an amazing journey and as he sets out to accomplish an astounding feat of ‘ultra’ proportions.


From 22 to 28 August, Chamonix became the new Mecca for trail enthusiasts with more than 10,000 runners taking to the starting line for one of eight races that make up the renowned UTMB Mont-Blanc – the longest of which (171 km and 10,000 metres of vertical climb) draws in the world's ultra-trail elite. It saw 2,500 participants and one winner, Spaniard Kilian Jornet, who took out his fourth victory in Chamonix with a record time of 19:49:32.

Spaniard Kilian Jornet, who took out his fourth victory in Chamonix with a record time of 19:49:32 / © UTMB Mont-Blanc – Paul BRECHU

Dacia was able to take part in the adventure thanks to a multi-year partnership with UTMB World Series, built on common values, such as accessibility, connection with nature, and pushing one’s limits. The brand provided organisers with operational support, mainly through providing them with vehicles. Duster, Jogger, and Spring travelled down dirt roads and through valleys as they helped with race logistics. More than thirty cars were used to organize refreshment and aid stations, to lay out race markers, and shuttle volunteers to the various checkpoints.

More than thirty cars were used to organize refreshment and aid stations, to lay out race markers, and shuttle volunteers to the various checkpoints / © UTMB Mont-Blanc – Gabrielle FACCIOTTI

There was the struggle felt by trail runners as they overcome both their fears and their physical and mental limits, and as they focus on the essentials, to find the best in oneself. Alexandre ‘Green Cap’ Boucheix – 30-year-old Parisian runner and trail runner – talks us through the experience.

There is no ultra-easy moment in an ultra-trail. But you have to do one to truly realise how difficult these races are.

Alexandre ‘Green Cap’ Boucheix
Trail runner

An ‘ultra’ race with ‘ultra’ moments

In a race like the UTMB Mont-Blanc, each runner is chasing after their own goal, aside from the podium itself. This ultra-trail saw Alexandre come in 18th position while achieving a personal best of 22:55:34. He told us of one of his more "ultra-enjoyable" moments of the race: “When you grow up with posters of Kilian Jornet in your bedroom, to be overtaken in Chamonix after just three kilometres by the man himself, is pretty awesome! Sure, I didn’t see him again after that...”

The start of the UTMB Mont-Blanc race, in Chamonix / © UTMB Mont-Blanc – Franck ODDOUX

Obviously, not everything was as cool during the rest of the race. Alexandre recalls the “ultra-tough” moment as he ascended the second highest point in the race, the Col Ferret pass that sits between Italy and Switzerland: “I climbed up to the pass in zombie mode; I had no energy left and I forced myself to get to the top. It was extremely difficult, and it took me two and a half very long hours.”

© UTMB Mont-Blanc – Franck ODDOUX

From agony to extasy

Having finished the painful climb, Alexandre’s love for running soon came back in full force as he experienced his “ultra-beautiful” moment with a sunrise over the Mont-Blanc mountains: “This year, I made it up there earlier than usual. The sun came up over the Col Ferret pass where there is an incredible valley on the other side. It makes you want to wake up at 2am to hike up there with your sweetheart just to see the beautiful sight.”

A moment of beauty followed by a stretch filled with happiness. In Champex-Lac (Switzerland), at the 126km marker, his race assistance, Cecile Bertin, and his family were there to cheer him on. It was "ultra-motivating”: “It was a huge boost seeing my girlfriend in Champex. Sometimes, all it takes is a peck on the cheek to get the motivation back!”.

And if you're wondering what a runner does during a 171 km run (aside from running), Alexandre lets us in on his secret: music. A playlist with the likes of Diam's and Celine Dion. With her by his side, he sings his way through the refreshment stations.

© UTMB Mont-Blanc – Paul BRECHU

A positive spirit that he had to maintain through to Vallorcine, only 20km from the finish line. This is Alexandre’s "ultra-psychological" moment, the point he decided to make it into the top 20: “I knew I was hurting and suffering, but I knew I could do it. It was a psychological (and physical) moment that lasted three and a half hours.” An inner strength that gave life to an "ultra-moving" moment, at 10km from the finish line, when Alexandre realised it was within his grasp.


The Ultra Top 20

Emotional, amazed, excited. Alexandre Boucheix made the Top 20 at the 2022 UTMB Mont-Blanc. A result that can be explained by his incredible sporting prowess, but also his genuine love of running: “I cried at the end of the race, I think I’ll need a few days to process what just happened. This result won’t change a thing. I’ll be back running tomorrow.”

With records broken and tons of emotions shared, this race is an extraordinary experience for all participants. The 2,500 runners set off on a unique, personal journey, where each person finds the rhythm of their own exploration.

From Montmartre to Mont-Blanc, a Parisian like no other

An unusual character, a passion that knows no bounds. A green cap that makes him easy to spot when out on a run through the streets of Paris. Uncanny endurance that takes him on his daily training sessions up and down the stairs of Montmartre or to the Bois de Vincennes, a modern-day Forrest Gump. This year, Alexandre Boucheix has already run more than 6,800km and climbed over 166,000 meters – 16 times that of the UTMB Mont Blanc. Two-time winner of the legendary winter race Lyon-Sainté-Lyon, winner of the UT4M in the Alps and Ultra 01 in the Ain region, he hasn’t yet finished adding notches to his belt. Over the next two months, Alexandre will take part in two more ultra-trails: the Ultra Trail des Montagnes in the Jura mountains and the Diagonale des Fous, on Réunion Island. He will then continue with the Kullamannen by UTMB (organised by UTMB World Series) in Sweden and the Lyon-Sainté-Lyon at the beginning of December to try to sign his third victory on this race.