Two American Races Join 2022 Golden Trail World Series

Announcement from the Golden Trail Series sponsored by American Trail Running Association member Salomon. Photos courtesy of the Golden Trail World Series.

The Pikes Peak Ascent (Colorado) and Flagstaff Sky Peaks (Arizona) are part of the seven race global trail running series.

After a successful 2021 season, the Golden Trail World Series is back in 2022 with a completely new calendar and new procedures aiming to promote the show and broaden the athletes’ visibility, whilst simultaneously reducing intercontinental travel as much as possible.

Designed to meet the elite athletes’ expectations – who wanted to regularly race against each other at top-level races – the Golden Trail Series (GTS) proved in 2021 that it could also be identified as the world’s biggest trail-running show. Extensive communication in the media and on social networks, as well as films and high-quality live streaming, boosted the Series’ popularity in the trail running world. However, the GTS is pursuing its ambition to increase audience participation beyond the trails.

“The show the athletes give us is so intense, we believe that we can bring our sport to television to touch a much wider audience”, explains Gregory Vollet, Director of the Golden Trail Series. “The GTS is a structure that provides a means to express themselves and showcase their sponsors so they can live their passion.”

Francesco Puppi. Photo: GTWS.

For this reason, the world’s best athletes, whoever their sponsors are, have decided to participate in the Golden Trail World Series. “What differentiates the way the Golden Trail Series is organized is all the communication done around the event”, said Francesco Puppi (Team Nike Trail, Italy) – winner of the Grand Final on El Hierro, 2021 – in an interview with the American Trail Running Association (ATRA). “The organizers are taking our sport to another level and are a real inspiration for all the athletes, whether elite or amateur. They also pay attention to environmental issues by believing they can do more and better. I honestly think that the Golden Trail Series has been the most interesting project in the last 10 years in trail running and deserves our deep appreciation.”

For this reason, the GTS has taken the time to attentively listen to the athletes’ requests to provide suitable answers. “We met together on El Hierro to discuss with the top 15 men and women from the GTWS 2021 overall ranking”, reveals Gregory Vollet. “Next, we worked in detail using a detailed questionnaire, and together we built the mechanics of this new 2022 calendar. The athletes are sensitive to the ecological impact, and the possibility of discovering new races each year, they want to keep athlete high-level density by having no more than 6 races before the Grand Final, to win more prize money, etc. So, we have created a formula that meets all these demands, and we are proud to announce it publicly today.”

Pikes Peak Ascent. Photo: Philipp Reiter / GTS.

The Golden Trail World Series, along with the athletes’ support, have decided to plan two trips with two competitions, in two-week slots on two different continents. This will give opportunities to Americans or Europeans to take only one intercontinental flight in the year by participating in a minimum of 3 races out of 6 (at least one race on their continent + two races, if needed, on another continent). “As a result, we are giving a bigger opportunity to North American runners to participate in our international series and we hope in the future to be able to also include Asia”, concludes Grégory Vollet.

Beyond this new set up, the Golden Trail Series will also be financially compensating the ecological impact of all the athletes and staff’s intercontinental trips for the Series by giving to Wildlife Works.

“In 2020, most of the GTWS races were cancelled due to the health crisis. We adapted to the situation by creating the Golden Trail Championship; a 5-day stage race on the Island of Horta in the Azores”, explains Grégory Vollet. “This was a huge success with all the athletes, and it’s the reason we decided that we were going to do it again with a 5-day stage race on Madeira Island, which will be the GTWS 2022 Grand Final. However, the rules have been adapted to the Series and it is all the season’s results that will be counted to determine the GTWS 2022 winners. The points will be doubled on each race, 200 points to the winners, but everything will still be to play for at the Grand Final Stage Race, where 100 points will be distributed each day to the stage winners (with stopwatch sections that carry 50 points), with a potential 450 points to win over the course of the week.”

Flagstaff Sky Peaks. Photo: Golden Trail Series.

The 2022 Golden Trail World Series will be anchored to the three mythical meets: Zegama, The Basque Fever, the Marathon du Mont Blanc and its Rollercoaster, and the Fast and Furious Sierre-Zinal. Then, the Series will discover new races, with an excursion to Norway, near to where Stian Angermund lives (the 2021 Series’ winner), to take part in the Stranda Fjord Trail Race, next heading to the USA for the Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado, where they will offer a $10,000 prize reward for arriving under 2h, or under 2h21 for the women, and lastly, the Flagstaff Sky Peaks that will take us into the heart of the American trail-running community in Arizona.

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