Written by World Mountain Running Association President and six time World Champion Jonathan Wyatt.
The World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) is pleased to present the 2018 World Mountain Running Cup with five races. It represents a change of direction for us in some important respects. We started with the goal to try to bring more athletes together on the races so reducing the number of events and really concentrating on these to invest in them with more promotion was a strong desire of the World Cup Management team from the WMRA.
The World Championships is no longer a part if it because we want a World Cup where everyone can enter it so it makes the individual races ranking evenly. WMRA is working to bring a dedicated media team, TV and video coverage and a dedicated space on the Web for the new World Cup. Bringing diversity to the World Cup was another goal and so we have races that are giving more variety. We have a vertical kilometer race (Piz Tri Vertikal, Italy) + a race of 31km (Sierre-Zinal) so that the World Cup will show us who are the best all round mountain runners.
So in 2018 the World Cup is a mix of old and new because for the WMRA its important to celebrate the tradition and heritage of the sport with the classic and beautiful races of Hochfelnberglauf and the Smarna Gora. The kick-off race sees us coming to Austria and the Grossglocknerberglauf in July. It is a beautiful track and Julius from the local organizing committee tells us he sells out the entries every year so its best to get your entry in quickly! Second stage will be the Vertical kilometer test in Italy. A short uphill only race in the heart of the north Italian Alps it takes runners up to breathtaking views over the high mountains and the Italian hospitality and crazy fans are famous on this track.
Third stage needs no introduction. It’s Sierre-Zinal and is World famous and it takes runners from the valley floor in Switzerland up to views over five different 4000m+ high peaks (including Matterhorn views) before dropping down to the town of Zinal. A picture postcard Swiss village if ever there was one! From here we take a break while there are Championship races in the season before picking up again in late September at the Hochfelnberglauf. Held deep in the heart of Bavaria its one of the golden original races. A race that first helped to join World Mountain Running together and you feel the history as you race up to the edge of the Bavarian alps with stunning views over the flat lands beyond. I can also say it has the best cakes and buffet of any mountain race I have done!!
The final race takes us to the autumn classic of Smarna Gora in Slovenia racing through the falling golden leaves. It might be a smaller mountain compared to the others but it makes just as tough a test of the runners. The trails around and up the mountain are beautifully fast and the up down plus up to finish in a castle makes this race a unique experience and not to be missed to see who will take home the World Cup title.
The 2018 World Cup is a stepping stone into the future for the WMRA and how it positions Mountain Running in a very competitive off road running environment compared with trail, Golden Trail Series and Skyrunning, etc.. The WMRA acknowledges that it needs to be much more relevant to the masses of runners and also build the World Cup to a point where it has true international relevance. This will mean in future races outside of central Europe, working to build partnerships with other off road sectors (in 2018 we have a partnership race with the Golden Trail Series at Sierre-Zinal). It will mean investing more to show how great Mountain Running can be to a wider audience and we are lucky that we have International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) assistance to distribute our media content to people outside of our normal community.
In bringing this together I couldn’t do everything I wanted this year and the World Cup Management team will agree. We had our friends in Norway who had to withdraw at the very final minute where we wanted to bring you a mini tour to combine 3 world cup races together but these are still some of many ideas for the future as ways to innovate the World Cup.
We have updated points and scoring which will reward runners with some bonus points (see the rules that will come online soon), we have invested more prize money in the overall World Cup and we hope you will join us on every race to share the spirit of what we love about Mountain Running.
Remember that the World Mountain Running Cup is not just about elite runners – it is also about bringing our community together and sharing a tough race and some good stories about it at the finish line!
Thanks for your patience in waiting so long while we worked away on the details the past 6 months. We know we are presenting later than we wanted to but now we are ready to kick the 2018 Mountain Running season into life!
The 2018 WORLD MOUNTAIN RUNNING CUP Calendar:
16th July – Grossglocknerberglauf
Race Distance: 12.7km,
Vertical gain: 1494m+
Location: Heiligenblut, Austria
Contact: Julius Rupitsch, firstname.lastname@example.org
6th October – Smarna Gora Mountain Race
Race Distance: 10km
Vertical gain/loss: 710m+ 350m-
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Contact: Tomo Sarf, email@example.com