Want to Host the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships? Here’s What You Need to Know

This coming February, ten world championships are on the line at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships (WMTRC). The world championship event has been held in various formats since 1985. The most recent Mountain World Championship was last hosted in Villa la Angostura, Argentina in 2019, while the last Trail World Championship was held in Miranda do Corvo, Portugal, also in 2019. After being canceled in 2020 and postponed in 2021, the newly combined event will attract the world’s best trail runners, and looks to come back strong in 2022 on the trails of Thailand.

Over the years, the international event tackled some of the most amazing trails around the world. But what does it take to host this championship event, and how do local organizations put in a bid? World Athletics recently published the hosting guidelines for parties interested in bidding for the combined 2023 WMTRC event.

Blandine L’hirondel 2019 Trail World Championships Winner

Blandine L’hirondel of France wins the 2019 Trail World Championships. Photo: iRunFar

Course Requirements

The upcoming championship, to be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on February 11-13, 2022, will be the first joint World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, replacing the previous World Championships hosted individually by the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) for mountain running and the International Association for Ultrarunners (IAU) and the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) for trails. The championship will now feature four courses in this format, each with its distinct distance and elevation requirements.

The “Classic Up and Down” Mountain Race will crown four world champions with individual races for the senior men, senior women, U20 (under 20) men, and U20 women. The course should be either a 12km loop or a 6km loop repeated twice with about 300-450m of elevation gain per loop.

The “Vertical” Mountain Race features two championship races for senior men and senior women. This 4-7km course should have between 700 and 1,000m of total elevation gain.

The Long Trail is a single race on an 80km course with 3,500-6,000m total elevation gain. Senior men and women earn world championship rankings from the results. And similar to the Long Trail, the Short Trail features the same championship format with a shortened course of approximately 40km with 2,000-3,000m total elevation gain.

Lucy Wambui Murigi winning the 2018 World Mountain Running Championships. Photo: World Mountain Running Association

Hosting Necessities

In addition to having access to the type of mountainous terrain and challenging trails necessary for each of the course formats, the host location must meet the following additional requirements:

  • International airport within a 3-hour bus ride
  • Event transportation system provided between hotels, venues, city center, airports, main train stations, and event-related social functions
  • Full board accommodation in a 3-star hotel (or superior) for athletes, officials, World Athletics Family, and media for a period of 4-5 nights

Of those 3-star rooms, 1300 beds (575 twins and 150 singles) are for athletes and team officials, 65 beds (singles) are for World Athletics Family (World Athletics, WMRA, ITRA, and IAU), and 35 beds (singles) are for media.

Bidding Process

For parties interested in hosting the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championship, bidding deadlines are upcoming. November 1, 2021, is the deadline for expression of interest and final bids are due by February 1, 2022. The official announcement of the next championship occurs sometime in April 2022.

For the selected host, the hosting fee of $150,000 guarantees the full commercial rights to the organizing committee. This fee includes money makers like title sponsorships, partnerships, media and broadcasting rights, expo sales, as well as mass participation entry fees throughout the three-day championship event.