|With 28 major events organized in 22 countries and 5 continents, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour continues its development as the world’s top circuit for long-distance trail running races. Iconic events such as the Madeira Island Ultra-Trail®, the Western State®100-Mile Endurance Run and the UTMB® Mont Blanc (UTMB®, TDS® and CCC®) have confirmed that they will continue to be part of the circuit, while 4 new races are making their debut in 2021: the Ultra-Trail® Snowdonia (UK), Kullamannen (SE), Thailand by UTMB® (TH) and Panda Trail by UTMB® (CN).
In 2021, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour will keep bringing together the best athletes by offering a real-time ranking, an annual championship title, prizes and advantageous travel arrangements. The ranking is based on the four best results of each runner over the last 36 months after the cancellation of the 2020 championship due to the pandemic. In 2021, participants will therefore be able to compete again for the title of Ultra-Trail® World Tour Champion.
All races cancelled or postponed in 2021 due to the health context may be replaced by Virtual Races which will still be awarding runners some prizes – such as Running Stones – thus creating a system that favors both athletes and organizers. This new project will operate through the UTWT Virtual Club launched on October 22nd, which already counts 57 nations represented and nearly 1000 runners from all around the world.
“In the current situation, it is important to create new options to involve runners and offer consistent benefits to the organizers. The UTWT Virtual Club allows us to support each race of the circuit while offering a new experience to our runner’s community. In addition to real-time rankings and virtual races, the 2021 UTWT Virtual Club will allow for participants to collect Running Stones – under certain conditions such as taking the original course of the race in one go– so that they can benefit from the same reward as any other Finisher of a physical event,” says Marie Sammons, Executive Director of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour.
As of 2020, taking part in the circuit races allows runners to collect Running Stones, which were designed to ease and speed up access to the UTMB® Mont-Blanc’s popular races. Starting January 2021, participants will get 3 Running Stones for each 50+ km Ultra-Trail® World Tour race completed. Running Stones accumulate over time and can be used to gain entry into the UTMB® Mont-Blanc races by improving the odds in the lottery.
The 4 UTWT ranks will be maintained in 2021 (500, 1000, 1500 and 2000) allowing for organizers to benefit from great visibility as members of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour circuit.
In addition, Ultra-Trail® World is strengthening its eco-friendly commitment through a new project, Trail with Purpose:
“Trail running is becoming increasingly popular all over the world with many events taking place in exceptional venues, that is most beautiful parks and mountain ranges that our planet has to offer. This is one of the ingredients that make our amazing sport deeply connected to nature and increasingly attractive for thousands of runners around the world. With Trail with Purpose, we want to show that it is possible to find a balance between human activities and respect for biodiversity, but also that trail running is a remarkable vehicle for raising awareness of environmental protection and to initiate change. This year, even more so, we are going to rely on local projects and support the organizers in their eco-friendly actions. More than ever before, 2021 will be the year of Trail with Purpose at UTWT,” concludes Marie Sammons.
To put in place this new project, the UTWT will organize 4 workshops and a conference dedicated to environmentally friendly actions. Alongside with race organizers, athletes and partners, trained experts are invited to participate in the event in order to bring answers and concrete tools to the organizers to face up to the challenges of tomorrow’s world.