Ultra Trail World Tour announcement (UTWT)

Ultra-Trail® World Tour: bringing together the most emblematic trails (of 100km or more) in the World.

Chamonix, 1st September 2013
The organizers of:

– The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
– Marathon des Sables
– The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®
– The North Face® Transgrancanaria
– The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra-Trail
– Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon
– Vibram® Hong Kong 100
– Ultra-Trail® Mont. Fuji

have today announced at Chamonix their participation in the 2014 Ultra-Trail® World Tour.

International circuit, shared values
The races in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour, in their specific natures, illustrate all the diversity of trail: steep paths of the Alps, California trails, hills and beaches of Hong Kong, Moroccan desert…
The races’ many different formats will present participants with a real adaptation challenge .

Between The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra-Trail and the Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon, between the Ultra-Trail Mont Fuji and The North Face® Transgrancanaria, participants will need very different qualities to win, or simply to become a finisher.

While being fundamentally different, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour races will have common values, which they are proud to share and to promote. Ethics, equality in sports, self-respect, respect for others, for the Environment…
Taking part in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour will be the opportunity, throughout the years, to discover cultural and sporting differences. Every continent will be visited: Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Oceania… providing opportunities to enhance their sporting culture, create new friendships, and to feed on emotions in order, one day perhaps, to be a “finisher” in all the events!

Simple criteria of eligibility

Long distance trail running races of at least 100km.
Emblematic venues.
Popular races (around 500 runners minimum).
International events (a minimum of 20 countries represented).
Minimum 2 realized editions
An annual ranking for the award of the title of champion of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour
Any “Finisher”, according to his performance, will be assigned a number of points and be integrated into the international ranking , updated for each race, and available online at http://www.ultratrailworldtour.com site.
The Ultra-Trail® World Tour will propose an international competitive circuit, in partnership with the International Trail Running Association (http://www.i-tra.org).

With the goal of bringing together top athletes, a limited number of races will be labelled «Ultra-Trail® Series». Only the 3 best results should be taken in consideration, with a maximum of 2 “Ultra-Trail® Series”.

At the end of the year, after the last race, the titles of “Ultra-Trail® World Tour 2014” champion, male and female, will be awarded.
Who will win? Encourage your favorites!

A passport for all races
By the end of 2013, all runners planning to participate in one or more stages of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour can order their “Ultra-Trail® World Tour” passport on the http://www.ultratrailworldtour.com site.
Whenever they are “finishers” in a racing circuit, they receive a visa to stick in this passport.
Participation in one of these circuit races will automatically imply integration in the rankings for the Ultra-Trail® World Tour of the given year .

2014, a year full of promise
For its very first year, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour will be present on all the continents, with a dozen venues spaced out throughout the year.
The following have already been confirmed:
– January 18th: Vibram® Hong Kong 100 (Hong Kong, China)
– March 1st: The North Face® Transgrancanaria (Spain)
– March 15th: Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon (New Zealand)
– April 4th to 14th: Marathon des Sables (Morocco)
– April 25th to 26th : Ultra-Trail Mt.Fuji® (Japan)
– June 27th to 29th : The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail (Italy)
– June 29th: The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (USA)
– August 29th: The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® (France, Italy, Switzerland)

Other emblematic races will soon be confirming their participation.

Many questions were left unanswered at the press conference. It felt as though the organisation wanted to monopolise on the media presence available for the UTMB and spread the UTWT news.

Importantly, when I asked questions directly about Western States the answer was less than reassuring. I can’t help but think all those who love WSER will be asking serious questions.

I will update more on this but please respond? Make your points here.

For in depth live coverage from the press conference go to @talkultra twitter feed and follow by blow-by-blow comments from 0930 French time. Or use #UTWT and follow the thread.

More to follow

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12 thoughts on “Ultra Trail World Tour announcement (UTWT)

  1. I don’t understand why they picked up a multi-stage race (Marathon des sables) when all the other events are single stage races. And I don’t think with all the things going on in the region, the Marathon des Sables is a really safe race.

    • Lional, I think it is a very safe race. Morocco is stable. However, I do believe this to be more about the MDS trying to align itself with the best in the world and probably save itself.

      • I agree. My experience of Morocco is a very safe place. Particularly MDS as it has the backing of the King and the army ;-). Mark makes a good point in MDS saving itself, however, it will need to pay to be in UTWT and the race is already full… So the question is will it go bigger, will it change to accommodate UTWT, what are the implications for the everyday entrant and so on…

      • Well I have heard tourists being kidnapped in the Sahara desert I don’t know if it was in the same area. But if as Ian says it is backed by the King and the army, no worries on the security side.

  2. Ian, I think you can add as simple criteria for these races also TNF or Vibram as partner what are main partner of biggest race from this serie UTMB. 🙂 I don’t think that it is some representative selection. Of course I agree with Lionel above that multi-stage race like MDS isn’t ultra trail.

    • Sam I believe TNF and Vibram are not partners, however WAA have a presence, a strong presence I think and that will involve VF. Of course UTWT may bring in a sponsor or sponsors but the individual races have there own sponsors, so, that may course a clash? I think UTWT are trying to create an Ironman type circuit but also allowing individual events some autonomy. It’s not very clear. Too many unanswered questions.

  3. Well written Ian but I fear the unanswered questions will remain that way. Stage races as you very clearly pointed out are different. This is a little like putting a squash tournament with a few tennis tournaments. Its not the same sport.. Yes running is there but essentially they are different animals.

    • I actually quite like the diversity of UTWT. I’m not opposed to a multi stage race in a circuit. I also think the concept has legs… The concept of a world champion who has been consistent over many terrains and distances is something I like, however, too many unanswered questions is not good for a launch

      • Agree about the diversity, consistency and demonstrated
        excellence over diverse formats. Typically, the arguments against a
        “best xxx”center on who didn’t show up, and a big, audacious,
        well-publicized and -backed series like this can attract those
        considered among the best. That’s all well and good for the elites,
        especially in the absence of a “pinnacle” of our sport a la the
        Olympics. The “passport” notion is an attempt at having the same
        series appeal to the rest of us. And frankly, I don’t think a
        single series/entity can serve both purposes well – I, too, have
        lots of questions, and would love to see more discussion of/about
        the questions – can we get them listed and discussed more
        explicitly?

      • Yes, then create a grand slam of selected events for a reason. Not take whoever will pay. One 50 one stage, one 100 and maybe one mega say a 600. Make them iconic races and sponsors will be attracted to the hot line ups. But for me it seems a bit “hashed” together without thought for the future of ultra running.

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