2018/19 World Championships & Opportunities for Elite U.S. Mountain, Trail & Sky Runners

There are several international sport governing organizations which organize World Championship and similar competitions in mountain running, trail running and sky running. The following is a list of those competitions, who organizes them and how American athletes can qualify. There are competitions for athletes ranging in ages from 14 to 79 years old; many require qualification but some do not. The first of these competitions was held in 1985 with the most recent founded just last year.

Seven of the competitions listed below are affiliated with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – the worldwide sports governing organization for several disciplines including track & field (athletics), road running, race walking, cross country, mountain running, ultra running and trail running.

USA Track & Field is recognized by IAAF as the official athletics federation for the United States.  With the exception of the World Masters Mountain Running Championships, USATF approves all teams competing in IAAF affiliated events.  For a full list of USATF mountain, ultra & trail national championships open to all runners check out this article.

YOUTH:

World Mountain Running Championships (Junior Races)

Course: 7.5 km, 576 m ascent

Organized by: World Mountain Running Association (WMRA)

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system: YES

Founded: 1985 (San Viglio di Marebbe, Italy)

Age requirements: 16 to 19 in year of competition

US Team selection by: USA Track & Field’s Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Running Council

2018 Date and venue: Canillo, Andorra, September 16

2018 Selection criteria: resume submissions to Paul Kirsch

Event recap: TBA

2013 World Junior Mountain Running Champion Mandy Ortiz with team staff members Nancy Hobbs & Paul Kirsch.

Youth Skyrunning World Championships

Courses: 3.5 km Vertical Kilometer and 21 km Sky

Organized by: International Skyrunning Federation (ISF)

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system: NO

Founded: 2016 (Gran Sasso, Aquila, Italy)

Age requirements: A (16-17 years), B (18-20 years) and U23 (21-23 years)

2018 Selection criteria: resume submissions to Ryan Kerrigan

2018 Event preview

2018 Date and venue: August 3rd to 5th (L’Aquila, Italy)

Mikey Connolly (Seward, Alaska) – U.S. team member for the 2018 Youth Skyrunning World Championships.

Mountain Running International Youth Cup (U18)

Course: 4.3 km, 290 m of ascent & descent

Organized by: World Mountain Running Association (WMRA)

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system: YES

Founded: 2006 (Susa, Italy)

Age requirements: 16 to 17 in year of competition

US Team selection by: USA Track & Field’s Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Running Council

2018 Selection criteria

2018 Date and venue: June 16 (Lanzada, Italy)

2018 Event recap

2019 Date and venue: TBA

Joslin Blair, 1st place, 2018 Mountain Running International Youth Cup (U18). Photo Credit Maurizio Torri & Francesco Lietti.

OPEN:

World Mountain Running Championships (short distance)

Course: 12 km, 1128 m ascent

Prize Money: $6000 total

Organized by: World Mountain Running Association (WMRA)

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system? YES

Founded: 1985 (San Viglio di Marebbe, Italy)

Age requirements: Must be 18 or older in the year of competition

US Team selection by: USA Track & Field’s Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Running Council

2018 Selection criteria

2018 Date and venue: September 16 (Canillo, Andorra)

2018 Event recap: TBA

2016 World Mountain Running Champion Joe Gray at the awards ceremony in Bulgaria.

North American, Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships

Course: 6.6 miles, 3200′ of ascent

Prize Money: $3000

Recognized by: World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) & North American, Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) Athletics

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system? YES

Founded: 2004 (Vail, Colorado, USA)

Age requirements: 16+ in the year of competition

US Team selection by: USA Track & Field’s Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Running Council

2018 Date and venue: Loon Mountain Race, July 8 (Lincoln, NH, USA)

2018 Selection criteria

2018 Event recap: TBA

2019 Selection criteria: TBD

2019 Date and venue: July TBD (Mexico)

Meghan Roche at the 2017 NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Golden, Canada.

Trail World Championships

Courses: 50 km (even numbered years) 2500 m ascent/descent.  50 miles (odd numbered years) 4900 m ascent / 3600 m descent

Organized by: International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) with their technical partner International Trail Running Association (ITRA)

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system? YES

Founded: 2007 (Huntsville, Texas, USA), since 2015 with ITRA

Age: 18+ in the year of competition

US Team selection by: USA Track & Field’s Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Running Council

2018 Selection criteria

2018 Date and venue: Penyagolosa Trails, May 12 (Castellón de la Plana, Spain)

2019 Selection criteria

2019 Date and venue: Trilhos dos Abutres, June 8 (Mirandha da Corvo, Portugal)

Mario Mendoza lead the men’s team with a 6th place finish at the 2018 Trail World Championships. Photo by Miro Cerqueira Photography

World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships

Course: 36 km, 2100 m ascent/descent

Organized by: World Mountain Running Association (WMRA)

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system? YES

First organized: 2004 (Sierre – Zinal, SUI)

Age requirements: Must be 18 or older in the year of competition

US Team selection by: USA Track & Field’s Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Running Council

2018 Selection criteria

2018 U.S. team race recap

2018 Date and venue: June 24 (Karpacz, Poland)

2019 Selection criteria

2019 Date and venue: November 16 (Neuquen, Argentina)

Megan Kimmel at the 2015 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Zermatt, SUI.

MASTERS:

WMRA/WMA Masters World Mountain Running Championships

Courses: Long 10 km, 1100 m of ascent (M35 to M50).  Short 7 km, 900 m of ascent (M55 to M75 & Women). Editors Note: starting in 2019, men & women in the same age categories will run the same course. Older athletes will run a short course; age break TBD.

Organized by: World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) & World Masters Athletics (WMA)

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system? YES

Founded: 1998 (Kitzbuehel, Austria), since 2001 with WMA

Age requirements: For athletes ages 35 to 79 competing in 5 year age groups

US Team selection by: no qualification required

2018 Date and venue: June 2 (Zelezniki, Slovenia)

2018 Event recap

2019 Date and venue: September 27-29 (Gagliano del Capo, Italy)

Nancy Hobbs at the 2018 Masters Mountain Running Championships in Slovenia.

HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGIATE:

Collegiate Mountain Running Championships

Course: 6.6 miles, 3200′ of ascent

Organized by: Collegiate Running Association (CRA)

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system? NO

Founded: 2014 (Lincoln, New Hampshire)

Age requirements: no minimum age

Selection criteria: In order to be eligible to compete in the Collegiate Running Association Mountain Running Championships, participants must either be enrolled in a college course at the time of the race or have completed a course during the spring semester (between January 1 and July 8, 2018). Collegiate participants must also be free members of the Collegiate Running Association to be eligible for the collegiate prize money.

2018 Date and venue: Loon Mountain Race, July 8 (Lincoln, NH, USA)

Patrick Smyth takes home the big check at the 2014 Collegiate Mountain Running Championships.

National High School Trail Championships

Course: 5 to 6 miles, 550′ of ascent & descent

Organized by: Kenny Wilcox

Part of the IAAF athletics federation system? NO

Founded: 2017 (Salida, Colorado, USA)

Age requirements: Not defined. The race is open to incoming freshman through 2018 high school graduates.

Selection criteria: Open to all current high school athletes and is extended to include incoming freshman and 2018 high school graduates. There is no qualifying race for the NHSTC. However, due to course limitations, race sizes are capped when maximum numbers are reached. The NHSTC will crown a team champion and individual champion for the girls and boys.

2018 Date and venue: July 28 (Salida, Colorado, USA)

Runners at the inaugural National High School Trail Championships.

 

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