Ultra-Trail World Tour to Launch in 2014

Ultra-Trail World TourThis morning, the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) was announced in Chamonix, France amidst the festivities of The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. To launch in 2014, the Ultra-Trail Series (as the UTWT’s circuit will be called) will consist of eight to 10 events, each 100 kilometers or longer, distributed around the world (four or more continents). Of these, five or six races will be designated as “Majors” in the UTWT.

Races will be designated a certain number of points based on their size and the race’s designation. These points will be used to formulate a championship ranking similar to those used in skiing, cycling, and tennis. Three races will count toward the ranking with two races from the Majors and one from an additional race. Some elite racers will receive support to attend series races. In choosing races, the organizers want these runners to ask “Not what can I do because I can afford it, but what can I do because I want to.”

Tentative 2014 Ultra-Trail Series Schedule

  • January 19 – Vibram Hong Kong 100
  • March 1 – The North Face Transgrancaria (Spain)
  • March 15 – Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon (New Zealand)
  • April 5 – Marathon des Sables (Morocco)
  • April 26 – Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji (Japan)
  • June 28 – Western States 100 (USA)
  • June 28 – The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail (Italy)
  • August 29 – The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (France/Italy/Switzerland)

Additional race organizations have been contacted with more races likely to be added to the tour in the coming months.

Ultra-Trail World Tour - organizations and runners

Representatives from a few races in the Ultra-Trail World Tour as well as a few potential runners. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

UTWT Objectives

Here’s some of what the organizers have laid out (slightly de-Franglished):

The Ultra-Trail World Tour is an invitation to travel through the world, and to take part in the most mythical races.

What are its objectives?

  • Give the opportunity to anyone to take part, throughout the year, in the most beautiful long-distance trail races of the world (at least 100k in length).
  • Allow all trail runners to take part in popular events in which top runners are systematically associated with.
  • Allow the top trail runners to meet regularly and to be confronted to each other in an annual circuit.
  • Carry trail running’s values by giving the opportunity to everyone to improve himself through traveling, discovering new cultures, and sharing with other athletes from all around the world.
  • Use the experience, the history and the traditions of each events, to offer to the athletes a renewed vision of their sport and new experiences.
  • Associate races suitable for every athlete, in spectacular and diversified environments and with various difficulties and technical elements.

Benefits to the Rest of Us Ultrarunners

Those runners who join the UTWT may benefit from insurance, travel assistance, and discounts on running equipment. Runners who complete at least one race can request a UTWT passport and receive visa for each race they complete.

Quick Editorial Thoughts on the Championship Circuit

As I’ve covered the pointy end of the field at many highly competitive races in recent years, I’ll offer few personal thoughts limited strictly to that area.

  • I like the idea of a high-level international circuit for ultrarunning. I’m inspired by seeing the best ultrarunners from around the world race one another. That’s great.
  • I like that the series includes races as vastly different as the Tarawera Ultramarathon (flat 100k at sea level) and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (167km mountain race. It allows differently suited trail runners to rank against one another in the same series.
  • I was worried that the ranking might encourage runners to run too many races in one year, but basing the ranking on the total of three races (including one non-major) might limit that issue. I would be interested in seeing the organizers limit maximum participation of each athlete. Otherwise, this might remain an issue, although most runners in contention will realize that it might be a fools errand to try to improve their ranking in highly competitive 100-kilometer-or-longer events by racing many more than the number of races that count toward the ranking.
  • On the other hand, keeping the races at 100 kilometers or longer means less overlap with the Skyrunning Ultra Series, which only had one 100k race and one race over 100k in 2013. As suggested by my thoughts above, I’d prefer one unified ultramarathon series with a very wide mix of distances (26.3 miles to whatever…); big mountains and faster, flatter courses; and maybe even a road race (Comrades or the IAU 100k World Championship) in a world ultra series.
  • I wish the series wasn’t limited only to races 100k and more in length. While I love ultras, more isn’t always better and I wish the same admirable diversity of terrain was reflected with a greater diversity of race lengths. I also worry about the potential harm to athletes who may race long and hard so often, as a result of the series. Perhaps, the 100k or more requirement is an attempt at branding through differentiation or perhaps it is a different conception of the sport that varies from the “an ultra is anything over 26.2 miles” concept with which I was indoctrinated into the sport.
  • Although many of the races are iconic, I wonder if travel support for a limited number of athletes will be sufficient to draw some in. Aren’t those most likely to receive travel support from the UTWT the same as those who are most likely to get material travel support from their sponsors? How to get the travel support to the excellent runners with lesser sponsor support?

Call for Comments

I’m sure this concept will draw plenty of comments both on the elite and regular runner prospective with out me prompting questions. :-) All viewpoints are welcome, we just ask that you keep the conversation civil. (A good test before posting a comment, is  whether you would say the same thing to the person who is the subject of the comment if you were out on a trail run with him or her.)

[Editor’s Note: As it has come up elsewhere, we’ll note that iRunFar has no affiliation with the Ultra-Trail World Tour.]

There are 172 comments

  1. Speedgoatkarl

    actually the marketing value will be lower with less participants. At least I think so. Look at Run Rabbit Run, 35k prize purse, the largest in ultrarunning history. (in the US) and no big companies want to throw in more…..why….45 fast runners are not enough. It is what it is.

    Most "pro" ultrarunner athletes don't get as much financial support as you may think…unfortunately.

  2. [email protected]

    Thanks Craig. Guess I gotta follow you on Twitter. Various Montrail pages (FB, ultra cup page, etc.) have not been quick to give up information on the changes this year. It's good to know the MUC will go forward in some similar fashion. I feel it has really added to the up front racing (at least for those of us who enjoy watching that kind of thing).

  3. Jeremy

    Actually, running WS is pretty easy. Just go to squaw valley and run to auburn. Can be a lot cheaper too if you do it without course markings and aid stations…

  4. Bob Gilmore

    Why not institute a 100 mile world championships instead? With a different country hosting every year….what a novel idea. Oh wait…. I think a few other sports already do that. Keep the iconic races accessible to the people that have been supporting them all these years.

  5. Johnny

    What I'm seeing is that this $15,000.00 Fee is coming from the RD, which in turn is probably money (at least partly) that came from registration fees. So in essence, part of our registration fees for these races are paying for travel/support for elite athletes. This may lead to either less course support/supplies/aid/food and/or higher registration fees.

    1. Tom

      Nothing against the elites, I love to see them at races but I don't know if I love it enough to pay higher entry fees so that elites can get to the races, many get travel expenses from sponsors, granted not all do, but personally I don't want to see our sport go the direction of triathlon and become the elitist sport that triathlon has become.

  6. Michael Owen

    Interesting. It was only a matter of time that we began to see the works of a series of such. Bryon, I agree with your last point about the travel support being offered to certain athletes. If the sponsored, already-supported, athletes are the only ones receiving support, wouldn't this lead to an elitism model where only a select few even have a chance to participate in the events? How would non full-time ultra runners be able to have the time, money, and flexibility to travel to the events without support of the full time sponsored athletes? I've always wondered how "elite" is defined. We hear the phrase "elite ultra runners" all the time, but is there a true definition of elite or just an understood one?

    I like how rankings will be based on three races – I still wonder if there will ever be an attempt to make a true "championship race." Maybe make one UTWT major-race required, one non-major required, then have UTMB as the "championship." It would put more on the line for one race and would assemble many competitive runners associated with one distinct series vying for the same thing. Or, is it kind of understood that it is virtually impossible to line up "all" the best ultra runners in the world for one race on one day for a true championship?

  7. Tom

    Do we really need an organization to "show" us the different cultures of the world? Create a "calendar" of events that already exists? The Ironman Corporation created a world circuit. Entry fees went through the roof, qualifying races for Ironman Hawaii went from excellent regional independent races to predominantly (if only races put on by the corporation). In my opinion, this is a slippery slope and one I think that will lead to the exclusion of the local population trying to participate in the events. Ideas like the UTWT are not why I left the world of triathlon to race on the trails.

      1. Marcos

        Hey Tom,

        Beat me to it, I read it and instantly thought about the Ironman franchise. I got fed up with all their crap just like you and at the same time I found the trail running community, I love triathlon, but everyday I think about selling all my gear just because of their attitude, I'd hate to see it all turning the same thing.

  8. Michael Owen

    Trey, I'm not sure that races not part of the series will be affected much. Maybe less elite runners in them, but what is the big deal about having 1-2 fast guys in a small local race? If this thing does take hold, I actually think the opposite will happen – more interest in the sport from regular non-elite runners and bigger participation in local races. Similar to track and marathons… the bigger venues like the Olympics or Olympic Trials creates more interest in running and bigger crowds at small 5k's, half marathons and marathons.

  9. Evan

    I like the idea at face value, but I foresee problems in the execution. Some of those races are really difficult to get into even for "elites"- will people doing the series get preferential entry? If not, how is anyone that is sub-elite supposed to properly compete in the series if they can't get into some of the races, and the other half are on the other side of the world? The fact that they are all over the world is appealing for travel's sake, but extremely challenging logistically and financially for most. The obvious solution to that is to have more races, but the. You are diluting the field, too. I could get excited if a certain placing or number of points earned you automatic entry and travel support to a third race, or a championship race (UTMB?) Either way, I'll be interested to see what comes of it. The sport evolves! Life is in motion and change is the rule, not the exception.

  10. Steve

    As I read the release of this the first thought through my mind was that most RDs would apply for tourism/govt/local govt funding in exchange for the publicity to the various districts . As a fellow Kiwi I've seen this work well down here many a time .

    The central North Island of New Zealand is simply amazing , so fits well with that concept .

    As Im keen new runner and not up to 100kms yet I will confirm my entry to the Tarawera100 in 2015 .(hahahaha)

    And Im sure most of us would love the chance to rub shoulders with more of the elite Athletes without remortgaging our homes to travel northwards

    So thanks paul and ill be on the sidelines in march at least watching

    Cheers Steve

  11. WeiDe

    If there is more prize money, will there be doping checks for the top finishers of each race / the series?

    Recovery time will play a major role here too…

  12. Justin

    nbskis – ''you clearly have no idea what it takes to be a so called elite'',

    How would I? I am not an elite, I only wish to give my opinion on this. I have total respect for the elite performers, my concern is that this won't improve the sport. By that I mean, if the same people keep getting all the assistance it is making things harder(not impossible) for new/up-coming talent to have the opportunity to challenge them.

    nbskis – ''they don’t get money out of it, they typically get just enough to cover expenses, not to save or live a “comfortable” life.''

    I did not say they got money or led a comfortable lifestyle! I said '' the elites get more free races, assistance with accommodation, lots of great kit and plenty of time to acclimatize/train in these nice place.'' Am I wrong?

    PS I have no interest in competing at skiing or biking, I choose to pay the money for reliable clothing and footwear. I also choose to enter these races and pay the travel costs. What I am saying is, if we didn't, then the big sponsors wouldn't be in a position to aid those who give their events/brands the opportunities they get.

  13. Lstomsl

    I like following the sport as much as anyone and I don't see anything wrong with a formal point series. As it currently stands I see some elite runners seem to focus on being consistent over an entire series, some target a specific race year after year, some will pick a year to chase the grand slam, or an FKT. Another point series just adds one more dimension but I have doubts about how successful it will be. I don't see folks dropping everything else year after year. I doubt 5 people on the planet could be competitive at 10 long races a year. Does anyone even know who the skyrunning points champ from last year is? In the end it might bring some more hype, attention and financial support to the elites. Like 90% of us, however, I will watch vicariously through iRunFar and hit the occasional grassroots local race and avoid the crowds. It won't impact my life in any meaningful way at all.

  14. Paul

    I think it'll just be something that is there. It won't have that much relevance to the Ultra calendar as nothing seems to be changing. I also don't know if it'll draw the elites to it either as in essence, most of these guys run because they love being out on the trail & the freedom of it. The commercial side of things mightn't appeal…I certainly don't see many of them doing MDS. Too touristy.

    But hey, it's great to see the sport grow. Just not too much ;)

    P.

    1. Martin G

      If I have a full time job that I'm good at and qualified for, I don't think 40k pounds per year will create controversy.

      Now take a full time runner, who's not only good and qualified for his "job" but is simply part of the best of its kind in the world, why would it be wrong?

      Let's keep in mind that it wasn't given to them but they worked extremely hard to get there.

      I am no elite athlete and even though I wish I could have been one I have no right to question their achievements and rewards that come with it.

      Now about the UTWT:

      I am already laughing at when they will have to pay travel expenses for 20 to 30 elite athletes to come to one single race. Seeing how UTMB treats elite athletes (no invitation, no accommodation, no travel expenses covered, no prize money), my bet is that they simply won't.

      So Iet's wait and see how this will unfold, but to me this is just fancy words on paper to justify the 15,000 euros fee per race to be part of the series. Soon enough they will put on a rule that will limit the field invited elites or they will ensure that only a handful of athletes will receive the title "elite 1" according to their standards.

  15. Trey

    A good number of people seem turned off by the whole idea-this change coming to ultra running. My question is, how is it affecting you if you are doing a race that is not in the Tour?? Wouldn't it stay the same?? Assuming you got into WS, once its part of the Tour – how does that ruin it for you once you actually start running the race?? If you are not chasing points or an elite, how would these changes affect your actual running of the event??

    1. Tim

      Trey,

      It affects those who would like to run the actual event by possibly: making the entrance cost higher, as well as getting a spot into the race more difficult because of more spots being saved for elites. Of course it does nothing to change the act of actually putting one foot in front of the other, and running the event.

  16. SteelTownRunner

    Some of those races seem odd to be lumped together in the same series. Why is MDS in the mix? Who is going to compete in these races? You need to have the $$$ to just even enter MDS. Does WSER need something else to attract runners? Will this have any affiliation with the Skyrunning ultra series?

  17. Robbie

    It's simple folks, support your local races. I have dozens to choose from in Oregon, and Washington State. IMO, the Pacific Northwest, has the best terrain to run on.

    1. Scott

      Let's just keep the PNW's greatness on the down low we already have a big enough problem with transient residents we don't need more :)

    1. Sabine

      Exactly – this is what I think, too!!

      I don't like the current trend in ultrarunning, with more and more big money coming into play and with all the fuss about certain races and race series. It is inevitable that middle-of-the-pack and back-of-the-pack runners, who want to participate in these UTWT races will have to pay for it – either literally by higher entrance fees or by higher difficulty to get a spot in the race.

      I personally find much more of the atmosphere that has sparked my love for ultrarunning in local or smaller races – or even in fat ass events.

  18. Josh

    Ian Corless did make a valid point that most press leaves UTMB after the top runners come through. Thus, holding a press conference after the press has left would be pointless. Not to suggest that this series is thinking at all of the average runner, but to have a press conference at UTMB, you've got to do it early.

  19. tom

    369 rolling average and 400 "selected" but only 218 drawn from the lottery on average. That seems like a lot (182?) of automatics, MUC, sponsor exempts and other special considerations. Where will the elite entries come from and what will that do to the entry fee?

  20. Speedgoatkarl

    The UTWT model seems to be the same model as Skyrunning. RD's fork over some cash to the "federation", the federation offers the assistance in gathering elite runners with the money that the RD forked over to them.

    HMMM, sounds like an Un-needed middleman. If I'm gonna fork over "x" amount of dollars to a federation, I have to then ask myself "why"?. How about I fork over that "x" amount of dollars in the form of a cash purse instead of appearance fees in the form of travel support.

    UTMB is the most amazing race in the world as far as I'm concerned, the venue in Chamonix, Courmayeur etc, etc…and oh, Mt. Blanc. It is a real mountain race, a race that Europe embraces..No pacers, carry your own shit, it's great. They also let in elite athletes after the fact, and those elite athletes get NO compensation, no travel expense, no hotel….the same treatment. Other than being able to slip in the side door at the start line and not get stuck in the beginning.

    4000 runners (all 4 races) X roughly 200 bucks each to enter…..= $800,000 is accrued in entry fees. OK, 800 thousand bucks. Towns donate to have the race go through them, other sponsors. (It's doubtful they even pay for the schwag that's donated).

    My gripe is where is the prize purse? How about throw in say 100k? No good? still a $700,000 + budget to work with right?

    UTMB is a super first class event for everyone, form the DFL to the winner, but in reality, there should be prize money with all that money in entry fees. And yes it comes from all of us entering, but so does Lebron James' salary….from spectators, via TV or seats in the stadium.

    I guess I"m starting to ramnble and I could go on and on, but in my opinion, it's just another way to make money…having a series. I could easily put together a "speedgoat series" in the Utah area, and probably make a bunch of money, but I won't do that, we'll just keep it at 50k with pizza and beer at the finish, and a few extra bucks to watch those fast guys and girls run fast.

    Run the race you want to run, don't get lost and go on the world tour if you can afford it. :-)

  21. Kory

    I second this entire conversation. The hottest topic of this past year in one phrase or another has been "our sport is growing", or "why has ultrarunning gained so much populaity?" Take those statements and look at how Ironman began in the early 80's. It was as humble as trail running until somebody realized that they could make a ton of money off of it, and they did. Granted, these are two entirely different sports,requiring entirely different needs, but, the point remains. An entity is seizing an opportunity to profit based on the demand of a sport.

    How long until it costs over $300 to get in a race?

    I dont mean to sound redundant, but "we" all exclaim that the reason we love trail running is because… well just look at Hardrock. Even if you or I never get into the race, we cant deny that it is the single race that defines everything we love about the sport.

    This organization certainly does not appear to represent that.

  22. Jeff R

    Given the general sentiment expressed in these comments, a lot of people need to start boycotting this site. It's a huge part of the "problem". Take a second to think about it.

  23. Cody

    This is nuts! Folks are getting this upset about a series of running events?

    Here's the deal: whether you like it or not, this is inevitable in any sport that's growing in popularity. Just because you were here first doesn't make the sport "yours." It's going global and garnering big money. Soon it will be like many other sports: average runners won't be able to compete in large pro events.

    If you want to run the course, run it on your own. If you want to race, race any number of incredible local events. If you want to run the pro races, get faster.

    There are so many bigger problems in the world. Running and the events associated with running are not, and will never be, a subject to be really upset about.

    1. jenn

      I think this far too facile and glosses over one of the bigger topics ongoing over the growth of the support – environmental impacts and the carrying capacity of the trails and resources where many races are run. Growth may be inevitable, but "like it or not" those of us who value the wild places we run through (I presume that includes you!) SHOULD be discussing growth, limits, and best ways to proceed. That conversation includes a lot of factors, and is bound to be a tad messy!

      1. Lstomsl

        It's valid to have a conversation about impacts and steps we can take to minimize them but let's be real, all the western states ever run don't have nearly the impact that a single horse race on that trail does. I doubt that the FS will ever allow new races through existing wilderness areas and only a few have been grandfathered in. We certainly do have impacts and we all need to be aware and do what we can to minimize them but in the larger scheme of things they are pretty small. There are still plenty of places I can go run all day without seeing another human.

  24. OOJ

    Wanna know what's truly "expensive"? The physical cost of a very small number of elite ultramarathon runners intensely racing several (e.g. 3 or more) 100K+ ultramarathons in a single year.

    The fatal flaw in this circuit (and others) is the assumption that it is an "OK thing" for individual ultra runners to compete at the highest level in more than one or two major races in a year. The physical reality is, running more than 1-2 ultramarathons (especially those 100K or longer) per year at full intensity is not sustainable and, as we'll continue to find out, results in burn-out and the end of competitive careers.

    At present, we have two major issues in the sport:

    1.) the lack of consistent, sustainably-performing "stars" in the sport – athletes that people can identify, follow, and become loyal to – in large part because they run well for 1-3 years, then flame out.

    2.) a dilution of top-level talent because of the proliferation of "championship" races and circuits, which aim to entice elite runners to race there.

    The result is…a bunch of so-so races that lack a compelling storyline (beyond who DNS'd, DNF'd or otherwise flamed-out) and even worse, a derailment – or premature end – of individual running careers.

    I don't know how to solve these issues, but I don't feel like incentivizing the running of three or more long, intense ultras is part of the solution.

    1. Pierre

      They use to say that the best marathoners in the world would compete in 1, 2 or 3 marathons, maximum per year. That's 127km of racing. Not even one 100 miles (161 kilometers),

      Completly agree with you.

      As Seb Chaigneau usually says, when you get to the cashier, the price to pay is high each time (on all levels).

  25. PezUK

    no it is not controversy it is fact & perfectly justifiable salary & response to:”they don’t get money out of it, they typically get just enough to cover expenses, not to save or live a “comfortable” life.

  26. James

    This is certainly one of those inevitable moments in our sport. Personally, it always has been a pity that SO much emphasis is put on the racing element of trail running. It’s often almost a complete detraction from why we actually run trails in the first place. That being said though, it is of course the primary element that is bolstering the growth and development of the sport so like it or not, it remains one of the most important factors in driving the sport’s future trends. To be honest, I do think that the idea of a world tour has merit.

    My only concern however comes from the slight (and I use this term loosely) exclusivity of such a tour.

    I quote one of the objectives you mentioned above:

    “Giving the opportunity to anyone to take part, troughout the years, in the most beautiful long distance trails of the world.”

    With the €15,000.00 price tag that an organiser must pay to have their event part of this series (something you eluded to in you post Bryon) I believe renders many events and communities devoid from actually participating in such a series. I get it that the big brands will be able to support such monetary outlays, but €15,000.00 on top of their already potentially high sponsorships to events, may be the “straw that breaks the camels back” for many investors of the sport. Then what? Just because the event cant cough up the money, does this mean that it’s not recognised as a “true” ultra-trail event, fit for people to participate in? What about races in places like South America and Africa where the exchange rate starts to hit double digits?

    Quoting another objective above: "Allow all trail runners to take part in popular events in which top runners are systematically associated with." When up until now has it ever been a problem before to just simply enter the race of your choice if you want to run it?

    Perhaps a very specific example, but a relevant one none the less, is the International Skyrunning Federation [ISF] Skyrunner Series. If an event organiser wants their race to be recognized as a skyrunning event, there is a bunch of regulatory criteria they need to meet (developed over almost 22 years), as well as an annual fee that needs to be paid (however quite significantly lower then €15,000.00 I might add) to the ISF. But, what this means for the runners is not only an event that is garuanteed to present a certain level of standard and offer a variety of unique and positive elements, but also a reinvestment into the sport, ensuring it's furture growth and development. In light of this, my parting question is simply, who actually benefits from the €15,000.00/event for the UTWT? I sure hope the answer to this is the runner!

  27. Dave M

    I agree with OOJ that it's probably not possible to be %100 recovered if you race more than a couple ultras per year, but 1-2 ultras per year? How boring.

    I think it is easily possible to run an 100K every other month and be really close to 100%, as long as the taper and recovery are well managed.

    And to run more than 1-2 ultras.. this is a problem? I personally don't experience any problems from this. I agree that ultrarunners aren't peaking properly at 99 to 100% to run the best race possible every time, me and OOJ included. But this is an incredibly exciting time for the sport and there are dozens of cool exotic races to run and the UTWT series is leveraging this, just like the Skyrunner series. Regarding the UTWT series itself: don't run it if you don't like it.

    Yes the term "world championship" is overused but this is the case for most grass rootsy smaller sports.

    Regarding flaming out of elite runners, there are only a handful that I know of who have faded away, and that may or may not be due to overracing, but rather due to health issues or changes in life priorities, rather than injuries or burnout. I think there has been an actual net increase in energy and vitality from racing more than what has been perceived as the limits of the human body. Ten years ago the UROY raced well at maybe 4-5 US Ultras and that was perceived as the best; now this performance level is top 20 at best.

    1. OOJ

      Assuming this is "Diamond Dave Mackey" posting this, he is one of the few top-level ultrarunners who has been consistently top-performing for close to a decade (hard to believe Dave was battling Jurek for the '04 WS title!). That said, his opinion carries a lot of weight.

      Or…how he takes care of his body – in training, nutrition, and lifestyle – is worth paying attention to. Perhaps the problem with circuits and championships is not only the drive to race hard, but to train hard – year round, nonstop.

      Either way, a balance needs to be struck regarding when to train and race hard. Only then will you see the "99-100%" performances, and top-heavy, competitive battles at these races…and I think that's what the race organizers are looking for.

      1. Speedgoatkarl

        DAve is exactly right that many of the elite runners that have thrown down many fast times are not necessarily "burnt out", but actually need to earn a living. None of us can earn a living being and ultrarunner, there is no prize money, other than a few races.

        As far as longevity…..it is possible to race 8-10 ultras a year and be competitive, because we are not racing fast, just often and as Macdaddy says, it's boring to train all year for one race. I rarely see an elite runner train for one thing and actually kill it.

        I also feel in ultramarathoning, that experience plays a bigger role than just focusing on one event or even 3 events. the more you run em', the better you get at it. The smarter you run and pace yourself. And recovery is the key element. Don't jump in too quick after running 100 miles, or you'll go home weeping…..cuz you're hurt.

  28. Dave

    Dave m- i agree with most of what you have said.i do believe that the top athletes should get paid out of this idea- that is totally fair. Being from the uk i would hope to do Lavaredo and Utmb at some point soon- i just hope that it doesnt get even harder to getinto these races as a result of this new set up either through a reduction in places for non elites or a big hike in entry fees

  29. Andre Blumberg

    Seems unconfirmed as yet although it was listed among the 14 'potential' races. It's not part of the 8 confirmed events. TNF is pretty decentralized in Asia Pacific and managed on a country by country basis through the resellers which vary by country. I suspect there may be more stakeholders involved that need to be convinced, plus the race has been selling out solid for a couple years already. Let's wait and see how it evolves …

  30. Expat in Sweden

    They is such a large range of trail and ultra possibilities, and the growth of the sport has increased the opportunities. Many races remain largely local while others attract international talent and receive extensive medi coverage. I toed the line many years back at the VT100 and recently I ran my first Alps race this summer and had a blast. Both were super exciting, but very different reasons. In the Alps mountain running has a long tradition – wasn't it the 40th Sierre-Zinal? Look at the results list for such rases; a small international elite field and then the majority are from nearby areas in France and French-speaking Switzerland – mostly fairly local. I ran in Zermatt and the majority seemed to be German-speaking Swiss from nearby areas. There are also an amazing number of local races! Some races are huge, bur still with mostly regional runners with small elite fields. The courses follow established trails (sometimes trails used over hundreds of years) and environmental impacts seem well considered. The sport is younger in the US and will have to go through its growing pains, but a similar range of small local races to large events seems to be developing.
    Sure, I miss the nearly total solitude I once had on my local training trails, but it is great to see more people being active and I am happy to share the joys of the trail.
    Is irunfar or other media contributing to the problem? No, I personally do not think so, because clearly Bryon facilitates precisely this discussion in these comment fields. And Bryon, Megan and Co are doing a great job keeping a personal and very human touch to their coverage of the sport.

  31. ljic

    money, money, money & only money…this is not trail running, this is only money for big brands, chamonix, etc…this is only points for runners ego cv…Support your local & undergrond races!

  32. Aaron

    I like this. There is a part of me (the part cultivated by my track background) that loves organization, rules, travel money, prize money, drug-testing, points standings, etc. There's also a part of me that just wants to go for a very long run in the mountains with friends. I'm glad that "ultrarunning" is a big enough tent to house both the corporate-fueled UTMB-style neon Euro-fests and the crusty old Hardrock-style mountain gatherings.

    Have no fear old-school ultra dudes. . .I can't imagine there ever being a shortage of low-key local races where the course is still marked with a sack of flour and the biggest sponsor is Billy Bob's Discount Tire Palace. I'll see you there. And maybe also at UTMB one day.

  33. NickP

    Bryon – Do you know if there has been any consideration about making this a two-year series? Sort of like how the World Marathon Majors does things. This obviously would add some complications, but it seems like it could potentially resolve some of the issues, particularly over-racing and travel (both time and expense). This was just a thought, and I was wondering if you have any insight into this.

  34. Samo

    Very interesting discussion. I have ran a few Skyraces and I also organized a local 21km mountain race. From my point of view it is very, very hard to organize even a decent small event, because you need enthusiastic team, many volunteers and devote more or less all of your spare time to the race. We got some support from a few sponsors, local government but the race costs were too high and was to risky to continue with the race although the people who participated liked the race. I would be interested to hear other people opinion what UTWT or SKYRUNNING fed. should/can do to finance/promote/develop local races if they want to be the leading organization to promote the sport.

    I see benefits only if:

    – UTWT is run as a associations of races and not as a personal project of some inside people. I don't know nothing how Skyrunning operates and distribute material and financial resources from sponsors to athletes and races.

    – All included races should have a vote on how the UTWT should be developing

    – UTWT should have a clear policy how sponsorship, TV, ads,.. money should be divided (let's say: 20% for managing the series, 40% elite athletes, 30% for included races and 10% for promoting the local events)

    My question is: Is it possible to have a system where these 10% would go back to some local organizers who demonstrate the willingness to develop the sport on grass root level under umbrella of UTWT or Skyrunning?

    Brands which support some of the elite teams/athletes will probably focus on these races which is good and what is already happening. We should admit that this is a normal process for any elite athlete. If Killian is able to run 10 races per year I would rather see him at top races but I would also like to see him at 1 small race mentioned above. I think in Tennis they have a rule that all top players must also compete at one or two local ATPs per year to promote the sport.

  35. Les

    Exactly, Robbie! That's how you ensure that the sport can continue and grow in the long-term, regardless of what global plans are put in place. It's also just a nice way to meet folks in the community!

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