Ultra-Trail World Tour: Rankings, Support, and Standings Presentation

The first full weekend of December, many of the world’s top trail ultrarunners gathered near San Francisco, California to run, crew, pace, cheer, or otherwise take part in The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. With so many top runners together… and 2014 race calendar planning in full swing, the Ultra-Trail World Tour held a presentation and Q&A session to provide the runners with additional information about how the UTWT will work at the front of the field, including the ITRA rankings, how assistance will be allocated, and how the series will be scored in 2014. We taped the hour-long session and provide it below.

During and after the session, tour organizers promised to provide additional information (such as example scenarios for race scoring). We will add that information to this article as it becomes available.

[Editor’s Note: We hope to provide a transcript of the session in the future. However, we are prioritizing transcription of the many interviews we conducted following the TNF 50.]

There are 6 comments

  1. Emir

    Now that more information is coming out about UTWT, I think it will make a great series for some people. We are all lucky that our running community spans all skills, terrains and ages. Thus, there will be room for everyone including the US Sky, UTWT and the local ultras.

    Thanks for providing this coverage and keeping us informed.

  2. GMack

    Thanks to iRF for filming this. I was intrigued when the UTWT concept was first announced earlier, but after seeing this presentation, something about it just doesn’t sit well.

    It’s obviously a euro-centric series as it stands now. There are 3 races in western Europe and those races have a lot of runner “capacity.” There’re 2 more “euro” races if you count the Marathon des Sables (predominately French) and Diagonale des Fous (French Island). The UTWT website states, “every continent will be visited”, like “America.” WS100 privides the only event/capacity for North and South America.

    The races lack cohesion and seem to be an effort to make a cartel out of some of the most prominent races. A lot of people are concerned lately about “money” in ultra’s in the way of prizes and sponsorships, which I don’t see as necessarily bad. It’s this cartel-ization, however, which may be a far greater negative influence to the sport.

    Then there’s a convoluted point system from dissimilar races to coronate a “champion.” But champion of what, and what do they get? Nothing, really, for the time, expense and effort. Except for exposure for an athlete’s sponsor and the UTWT.

    I’d rather do races I enjoy, for the fun of it, and for the runner community. It’s why I got into this sport.

  3. Max

    I can't say I mind the US racing scene being left out from the hype and circumstance of high profile Euro racing. As much as I enjoy witnessing the strong competition and spectacle of large races, the small community feel of our races is much more appealing.
    If anything I feel that the euro-centric design of the series if combined with state-side media coverage is the ideal compromise for races. We get most of the benefits of an increasingly popular sport, packs that fit and shoes that don't suck and the like, while suffering little drawbacks because most races will remain grassroots events too obscure to become the spectacle that high profile races are.

    Really the main reason racing is a much bigger deal in Europe than it is in the states, which the UTWT reflects, is because flying choppers to clean out summit portapotties to prevent brown snow melt is not a price Americans are willing to pay for the mountain and forest accessibility required for such high capacity events.

    1. Bryon of iRunFar

      Max,
      The good news is that whether there's one or five US races in the UTWT or similar international series, there will always be 100 times as many events that aren't extravaganzas. I love running Western States and my one (unsuccessful) run at UTMB was a treat. I love to focus my calendar on prestigious events with very deep competition. However, in training for such events, the vast majority of my tune up races are small, grassroots events… mostly very close to home. Next year, I look forward to my focus race being a 35-year old, 130-person, odd-distance trail race that few folks have heard of and which the organization wants to keep a grassroots, ultra-family event despite its popularity. :-)

      I guess my point of the above is to say, "Fear not."

  4. stayvertical

    Lots of questions:
    1. The Race Selection Form was due 12/4. I moved mountains to get mine in on time- pushed sponsors who were in Austin at the show and just threw out some stuff pretty blind. Not sure why they are passing them out on 12/8 urging them to get them in. The period is closed.
    2. Will the European and Asian races show preference to North Americans, how Western States does for foreign runners?
    3. My MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: If we request for example Flight, Lodging and Free Entry, but the number of Flights has been used up on higher ranked runners- will the entire entry be cut off and nothing be given to the runner- even if there is a free or guaranteed entry available. Will they come back to us and say "We can't do the flight, but we can give you a guaranteed entry to bypass the lottery."
    4. Do any of the individual races offer prize money?
    Thanks,
    Jer

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