This year, event partners in the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships (WMTRC) faced a “difficult” decision. After the partners scrutinized multiple international bids from regions vying to host the 2023 WMTRC, the Tyrol, Austria, area came out on top.
Austria’s Innsbruck Tourism and Stubai Tourism Association filed the joint application that won their home country the right to host the June 2023 event. The International Association of Ultrarunners, the International Trail Running Association, the World Mountain Running Association, and World Athletics decided.
“We are thrilled that the 2023 edition of the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships will be taking place in the Austrian region of Innsbruck-Stubai. This global running festival will gather elite trail and mountain runners from across the world as they run through some of the most spectacular scenery Austria has to offer,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said.
“[The partners] share the ambition of promoting running at every level and in every form — and this is an exciting opportunity to showcase a different kind of racing challenge for distance runners and for them to come together to celebrate their common passion for our sport.”
WMTRC Details and Why Austria?
We haven’t seen a WMTRC take place since 2019. Canceled in 2020 and postponed in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will re-emerge on November 3 through 6 this year in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
What will the 2023 event in Austria look like?
In all, race organizers expect 1,400 athletes from over 60 nations to compete in the heart of the Alps. Over four days of competition, male and female athletes will compete in four different events: uphill mountain running, classic up and down mountain running, short trail, and long trail. The classic up and down event will also welcome junior athletes in male and female categories.
Austria’s federal government, the state of Tyrol, and both tourism associations are optimistic that they’ll secure the majority of the estimated 4.7 million euros event budget.
The scenic, serrated beauty of the Tyrolean Alps promises to make a perfect arena for the competition.
Ancient and picturesque, Innsbruck crouches at the foot of the Nordkette mountain range, which cuts the horizon to 8,651 feet. The city’s existing hotel and tourism industry and its proximity to the mountains make it ideal for high-volume mountain races like the WMTRC.
The Stubaital Valley offers a more remote feel, with a European holiday pedigree and a namesake glacier. It lies just 15 miles south of Innsbruck, along maintained highways.
Tyrolean Trails: What to Expect
Race organizers have not announced exact routes for the WMTRC. But competitors and visitors can expect everything from challenging trails in the steep Kalkkögel range to tours through Innsbruck’s old town.
The legendary “Höll” — a 160-mile road route that climbs a nauseating 2.9 miles along its course — is also on the list.
The joint committee that decided did not specify where other applications arrived from. But it did speak to the quality of those applications, which informed its careful decision.
“The quality of the bids confirms the global growth and interests in the disciplines of outdoor running. Careful consideration of the different parameters made the task more difficult due to the high standards, but we are confident that awarding the WMTRC … to Innsbruck-Stubai will lead to very successful championships in 2023,” the group said.
The exact dates for the first Austrian WMTRC in June 2023 are not specified. For more on this year’s event in Thailand, check out the WMTRC website.