Announcement from the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA). Photos: Florentin Haunold at Roast Media.
The joint application of Innsbruck Tourism and the Stubai Tourism Association for the right to host the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships (WMTRC) was successful against strong international competition.
The community of Innsbruck-Stubai will bring the WMTRC to Tyrol at the beginning of June 2023, after a very competitive bidding process overseen by the event partners the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), alongside World Athletics. The Tyrolean application was considered to be very professional, building on its proven event experience and excellent reputation as a leading alpine sports region.
Thanks to the joint support of the federal government, the state of Tyrol, the city and tourism associations, the majority of the estimated event budget of around 4.7 million euros will be secured.
It is expected that up to 1,400 athletes from over 60 nations will compete in the heart of the Alps. Over four days of competition male and female athletes will compete in four different events – uphill mountain running, classic up and down mountain running, short trail and long trail. Junior male and female athletes will compete in classic up and down mountain running.
World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe, said: “We are thrilled that the 2023 edition of the World Mountain & Trail Running Championships will be taking place in the Austrian region of Innsbruck-Stubai. This global running festival will gather elite trail and mountain runners from across the world as they run through some of the most spectacular scenery Austria has to offer. We are also pleased to be working in close partnership with World Mountain Running Association, the International Association of Ultrarunners and the International Trail Running Association on the delivery of this event. We all share the ambition of promoting running at every level and in every form – and this is an exciting opportunity to showcase a different kind of racing challenge for distance runners and for them to come together to celebrate their common passion for our sport”.
World Athletics (WA), IAU, ITRA and WMRA have jointly examined all the bids for the 2023 WMTRC: “The quality of the bids confirms the global growth and interests in the disciplines of outdoor running. Careful consideration of the different parameters made the task more difficult due to the high standards, but we are confident that awarding the 2023 WMTRC Championships to Innsbruck Stubai will lead to very successful championships in 2023.”
Vice Chancellor and Sports Minister Werner Kogler: “A mountain running and trail running world championship in Tyrol? Where, if not here – one is inclined to ask. It is very pleasing that the awarding committee also seems to have thought this way. I congratulate Innsbruck and Stubai for this high-quality application, but above all for winning the bid against strong international competition and I am already looking forward to ten exciting medal decisions, spectacular pictures from the Tyrolean mountains and a festival in terms of sustainability.”
Tyrol’s Governor Günther Platter is delighted with the award: “Due to our alpine landscape, we are the ideal venue for the WMTRC 2023. And we know how to organize sporting events and major events in Tyrol. The joint staging of the two regions of Innsbruck and Stubai provides the best conditions for a successful and sustainable implementation of the competitions and the supporting program.”
Josef Geisler, Deputy Governor and Sports Minister of Tyrol, also welcomes the application: “Hosting the WMTRC in Innsbruck and the Stubaital will further strengthen Tyrol’s international reputation and reputation as a sports country. Mountain and trail running is a sport that takes place in harmony with nature and provides images that stand for sustainable outdoor tourism.”
Mayor Georg Willi agrees: “Innsbruck can present itself as a ‘city in the mountains’ with this major sporting event. We don’t have to expand or rebuild anything, we show what is there: a city in the heart of Europe, embedded in a unique mountain world.”
“Alexander Pittl has done pioneering work for our region in the field of mountain and trail running. Through the unique combination of urban charm and nature experience and the excellent organization, the largest trail running event in Austria could develop here in just a few years. The awarding of the World Championships to Innsbruck and Stubai is now the crowning achievement. Sports that do not burden nature and the environment definitely have a role model function, especially in times of global warming – and will hopefully also encourage many children and young people to do more sports,” says Innsbruck’s sports councillor Elisabeth Mayr.
Mountain and trail running has now become a trend sport, Mario Gerber, chairman of Innsbruck Tourism, and Adrian Siller, chairman of TVB Stubai, agrees.
Alexander Pittl, the founder of the Innsbruck-based Laufwerkstatt and initiator of the extremely successful “Innsbruck Alpine Trailrun Festival“, which has developed into by far the largest such running event in Austria and the third largest in the DACH region within a few years, will provide organizational and technical support for the event.
The alpine-urban Innsbruck offers ideal conditions for the upcoming WMTRC due to its combination of city, i.e. existing hotel industry and event infrastructure and at the same time proximity to the mountains. The Stubaital, on the other hand, impresses with a top holiday hotel industry and its landscape. For the World Championships, breathtaking routes, such as trails along the “Kalkkögel” to Neustift up to the “Elfer” or routes across Innsbruck’s old town and the legendary “Höll” are in preparation. However, the exact routes have not yet been fixed.