- UTMB World Series to replace existing Ultra-Trail World Tour
- New event structure to serve as qualification route for UTMB Mont-Blanc, which will double as World Series Finals
- Eight events already confirmed in Europe, Oceania and Asia, with full calendar to be revealed in Q3
The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Group and the Ironman Group have teamed up to launch the UTMB World Series, a new global, multilevel circuit of trail running events.
Starting from 2022, the UTMB World Series will replace the existing Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) and serve as the new route to qualify for UTMB Mont-Blanc, the sport’s flagship event.
First held in 2003, UTMB Mont-Blanc in Chamonix will be the site for the new UTMB World Series Finals, which will crown male and female champions for 50km, 100km and 100-mile races.
The World Series Finals will be the top tier of a new four-level event structure, which will also comprise three UTMB World Series Majors each year, as well as UTMB World Series Events and UTMB World Series Qualifiers. Qualification for the finals can only be achieved by completing either a World Series Major or a World Series Event.
The World Series Majors will serve as the continental championships for the Americas, Europe and Asia-Oceania. From those races, the top ten male and female runners in each of the 50km, 100km and 100-mile categories will secure a place at the World Series Finals. Meanwhile, the top three finishers at World Series Events will also qualify for the finals.
Athletes can also reach the finals with a ‘running stone’, which will be awarded to athletes at World Series Events, allowing them to enter the lottery for a place at Mont-Blanc.
Moving forward, UTMB and the Ironman Group said the strategic partnership will enable them to jointly develop the sport of trail running. The pair also plan to use the World Series to raise awareness of environmental issues around the world and advocate for inclusivity.
Catherine Poletti, president of UTMB Group, said: “We are certain that combining our experience and what the UTMB brand represents, with the ability and expertise of the Ironman Group, is excellent news for the world of trail running and for all its players: the athletes, amateurs, elites, but also their friends and families, the territories, partners and the media.”
Organisers plan to hold events across six continents, with the full calendar of UTMB World Series events due to be announced in the third quarter of this year.
Eight events have already been confirmed, including three in Europe – UTMB Mont-Blanc, taking place across France, Italy and Switzerland, the Mozart 100 in Austria and the Val d’Aran in Spain – and two in Oceania, which are New Zealand’s Tarawera Ultramarathon and the Ultra-Trail Australia. The other three confirmed events are in Asia, with a race in Thailand and two in China completing the current schedule.
Andrew Messick, president and chief executive of the Ironman Group, added: “For over 40 years, we have worked to create event experiences that capture the imagination of people from around the world, producing life-changing race experiences for athletes of all levels, from their first step through the finish-line. We are grateful for the ability to partner with the talented team at UTMB Group as we marry our strengths in creating the UTMB World Series as a platform to elevate the extraordinary that exists in us all.”