Beyond our own known horizon

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Last Friday and Saturday, I was lucky enough to watch close up the 17th edition of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) event in Chamonix, France.

But what is the UTMB? It is a series of trail races, spanning three countries, and ranging between 4, 8 and 15 kilometres long for young runners YCC (Youth Chamonix Courmayeur), to the 300 kilometre, 25,000m-elevation-gain (D+), 2 to 3 person-team Petite Trotte à Léon (PTL) race – and anything in between!

Some 10,000 men, women and youngsters, showing exceptional physical and mental abilities, as well as a certain degree of madness, undertake these gruelling feats…

Non-trailers out there might wonder why one would put themselves through such extreme endurance, and to be honest I did too, until I witnessed this most humbling of moments:



Spaniard Gorka Zubeldia Letamendia, lifting his prosthetic leg at the finish line as he successfully completed the 101km Courmayeur Champex Chamonix (CCC) race in 28 hours and 5 minutes. He was the last participant to finish the race.

It was a moment of double victory. One over high altitudes (>2,500m), a difficult course (6,100m D+), and at times, arduous weather conditions… and one over the odds: not letting what has been a life-changing injury to define him for the rest of his life.

And it is very much this opportunity – being able to prove to oneself that anything is possible and that we can go beyond our own known horizon or capabilities – that such high-performance events bring on.

Access to true resilience of the mind and remarkable courage of the heart, on top of a well-trained body. The concept of hedonic or positive adaptation in the context of significant adversity.

So a big HATS OFF to all UTMB 2019 runners, with a special mention to Gorka and any other runners with an impairment.

Image: UTMB – Christophe Pallot

Séverine Ougier Séverine Ougier

I am in the business of truths, ideas and stories.

As a marketer for 20 years, both client side and agency side, I have helped many businesses, organisations and NGOs grow on the basis of a three-fold formula:
Uncover truths about four key aspects of marketing (audience; brand; competitors; channels) to create a unique strategic proposition for a product, service or promise, and position it in a way that will respond to a need or motivation.
Formulate a strategic, creative and innovative idea based on this unique strategic proposition.
Translate this big idea into a series of well-told stories (marketing campaigns) which are relevant and meaningful to an identified audience, and most importantly, get people to take an action i.e. make a donation; sign a petition; volunteer; buy a product or service.

I like to call it truth well told.

My areas of expertise are: market research and insight generation; strategic thinking; strategic marketing; communications planning; brand (re-)positioning; re-branding; acquisition; CRM; retention; reactivation; customer journeys; copywriting/editing/publishing; media relations; offline and online channels; digital marketing; social media; workshop animation; focus groups moderation.


  1. Françoise Baroffio

    Grass thrives, no matter what, and people do too !
    I strongly believe we all have such a strength and courage at our disposal, we just do not need to access it. And then we forget.
    So, thank you for the reminder.

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